Anchorage electric utility to issue refunds after rate increase re-evaluation

Sean Doogan

Municipal Light and Power, an Anchorage electric utility that serves more than 32,000 customers in the Anchorage Bowl, is issuing a small refund to customers who were hooked up to its power supply during an eight-month span from March 1-Oct. 24, 2013. The amount of the refund will depend on how much power each household or business used, according to ML&P spokesperson Ronnie Dent.

The refund is due to a recent ruling by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska that decided ML&P's rates, which were approved on an interim and refundable basis in January of 2013, were too high. The RCA had approved a rate increase of 7.78 percent, but when it reviewed the change this year, it decided the increase should have been only 6.57 percent. Such reviews are common practice, according to ML&P.

ML&P estimates that a sample residential customer who used its power during the entire period would get a refund of about $3.60, and commercial customers may see refunds of about $194, depending on usage. The difference will be deducted from customers' bills for August 2014. For customers who moved outside ML&P's service area, or those who no longer use its power, checks will be sent to the last known address of customers.

According to ML&P's press release, "The refund includes over-collected demand and energy charges plus 10.5 percent annual interest ..."

While ML&P isn't planning on appealing the RCA's decision, it disagrees with the retroactive rate decrease. ML&P said it would cost the utility money to actually issue the refund.

"We haven’t even begun to calculate the exact cost," said ML&P general manager and Chief Operating Officer Jim Trent. "We are simply busy fulfilling the RCA's request by filling out those checks."