JUNEAU — The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. will take over management of a $1 billion fund used to reduce power costs in rural Alaska under a bill approved by the Legislature on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 98, introduced by Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, was intended to increase investment earnings for the Power Cost Equalization Fund. Roughly 82,000 Alaskans in 193 communities receive the monthly payments.
The House approved SB 98 on a 39-1 vote Tuesday evening — one day before the end of the legislative session. Rep. Mike Prax, a North Pole Republican, was the only no vote. The Senate passed the same bill in April, with three Republican senators in the minority voting against the measure.
Power cost equalization was established in 1985. Since then, the fund’s uses have expanded to include paying for renewable energy projects in rural Alaska and community assistance projects across the state.
Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, said that the fund had helped reduce exorbitantly expensive power costs, and he urged support for the measure because the Permanent Fund’s managers have been proven stewards of investing state dollars.
SB 98 now heads to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s desk for his consideration.