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Happy news: Electricity rate decrease is a welcome holiday gift

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Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 12:02 am | Updated: 4:15 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

Cory Borgeson, Golden Valley Electric Association’s interim CEO and president, could have been wearing a Santa Claus suit when he gave out the news Thursday.

A substantial rate decrease — that’s right, a decrease — just in time for the holidays.

It’s what everyone wants for the holiday gift-giving period and beyond.

The decrease will show up on the next bills, Mr. Borgeson said, and is the result of two occurrences: the resumption of the purchase of natural gas-produced power from an Anchorage utility and the start of power generation by GVEA’s Eva Creek Wind Project near Healy.

The contract with Chugach Electric Association will allow GVEA to use less of the more costly fuel sources that power its own generators.

The portion of the monthly bill that pays for the power itself actually will decrease more than that, 21.5 percent, but some of that decrease will be offset by cost increases elsewhere in the GVEA operation. The net decrease is about 11 percent for residential customers and about 13 percent for commercial and industrial customers.

And there could be more savings coming, eventually, once GVEA gets the Healy Clean Coal Plant restarted. That troubled plant has sat idle for more than a decade, but the changing economics of the energy market have made it worthwhile to fix up the plant and return it to operation.

Most of the news about energy costs these days is of the unhappy sort. We all know about the high cost of heating oil, and the current stretch of deep cold only makes matters worse. Those are dollars going out our exhaust vents.

This week’s announcement of a drop in the electricity portion of the energy bill is certainly welcome. Let’s hope it’s the gift that keeps on

giving.

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