RAPA Recent Cases (alphabetical)
Alaska Exchange Carriers Association (AECA).
RCA Docket U-13-159 (Telecommunications). Utility Profile.
On July 3, 2013, AECA filed proposed tariff revisions addressing changes to first point of switching (FPOS) procedures. FPOS is the point on a telephone network where a local exchange carrier hands over a long distance call to an interexchange carrier (long distance phone carrier) for transport between local exchange carriers. On August 26, 2013 the Commission suspended AECA's tariff filing for investigation and a hearing. GCI and the Rural Coalition have intervened in the docket, and the AG has elected to participate. A hearing to adjudicate AECA's FPOS requests will be held in May 2014.
Alaska Pacific Environmental Services, Inc. (APES-I).
RCA Dockets U-13-164/U-13-165/U-13-166/U-13-167 (Refuse). Utility Profile.
APES-I provides refuse hauling services in a variety of Alaskan communities through subsidiaries. In these dockets, APES-I has requested a 33.87 percent rate increase in Juneau (APES-J U-13-164), a 4.54 percent rate increase in Dutch Harbor (APES-Dutch U-13-165), a 13.53 percent rate increase in Nome (Apes-N U-13-166), and a 24.11 percent rate increase in Ketchikan (APES-K U-13-167). The AG has elected to participate in the dockets at the Commission's request. A procedural schedule and a hearing to adjudicate the rate increase requests will be scheduled in due course.
Alaska Power & Telephone Co. (AP&T); Alascom, Inc. d/b/a AT&T Alaska (AT&T).
RCA Dockets U-12-091/U-12-092/U-12-116 (Electric and Telecommunications). Utility Profile.
These dockets involve requests by APC, ATC and AT&T Alaska to discontinue providing local and long distance telephone service to Chisana and Healy Lake, and for APC to discontinue providing electric service to Healy Lake. The utilities claim that dwindling population in both communities and the high cost of providing service justify service abandonment. The AG opposed each utility's service abandonment request. The RCA issued an order on September 13, 2013 denying the abandonment requests. APC and ATC filed a petition asking the RCA to reconsider its decision, which the AG opposed. The Commission denied the reconsideration request on October 30, 2013.
RCA Docket No. U-10-58 (Steam Heat). Utility Profile.
On August 4, 2010, Aurora Energy, LLC requested approval for exemption of its steam heat utility service from economic regulation. The AG's expert witness testified that the utility's commitment to a market-based (fuel oil) rate cap satisfied concerns about protecting ratepayers from unreasonable pricing if steam heat was deregulated and merged with hot water heat rates. The Commission issued its decision on April 29, 2011 denying Aurora's petition for exemption from economic regulation and denying its request to merge its steam heat customers with its hot water customers. The Commission decision indicated that the utility failed to provide sufficient evidence in support of its petition. A final decision was issued on August 30, 2013 reaching the same conclusion after addressing Aurora's reconsideration petition.
Chugach Electric Association (Chugach)
RCA Docket U-13-007 (Electric). Utility profile.
This rate case was filed in December 2012. Chugach originally requested a 22 percent base rate increase for residential consumers, and a higher rate increase for each of Chugach's wholesale customers (a 28 percent base rate increase for Homer Electric Association; a 42 percent base rate increase for Matanuska Electric Association; and a 32 percent base rate increase for the City of Seward). The size of Chugach's rate increase for residential consumers was subsequently reduced to a 19 percent increase as a result of a Commission decision agreeing with an AG request to reject Chugach's inclusion of $1.85 million in storm damages from consideration. The AG filed responsive testimony on August 23, 2013 and Chugach filed reply testimony on October 22, 2012. A hearing to resolve outstanding disputed issues is scheduled to begin December 6, 2013.
Cordova Wireless Communications, Inc. (CWC)
RCA Docket U-12-135 (Telecommunications). Utility profile.
CWC provides cellphone service in Cordova and recently expanded its wireless service to Yakutat, which previously lacked a cellphone provider. On October 1, 2012, CWC filed an application with the Commission seeking to be designated an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) for Yakutat and requesting a service area redefinition for Yakutat. Both requests must be granted in order for CWC to obtain federal funding support for its wireless service. Because CWC's service area redefinition request would, if granted, have the effect of allowing CWC to refuse to provide service to consumers in the remaining part of its service area outside of Yakutat, the AG opposed CWC's request, as did GCI, another participant in the docket. A hearing was held July 22 - 24, 2013. A decision is pending.
Doyon Utilities, LLC. (Doyon Utilities).
RCA Dockets U-12-076/U-12-077/U-12-078/U-12-079/U-12-080/U-12-081/U-12-082/U-12-083/U-12-083/U-12-084/U-12-085/U-12-086/U-12-087. (Water, Sewer, Steam Heat, Electric). Utility profile.
These consolidated dockets involve twelve different rate increase requests filed by Doyon Utilities for its utility services provided to military bases in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Fort Greely. The Department of Defense (DoD) is the only "customer," however, all rates charged also impact to some degree all military families with base housing. Doyon Utilities' service to DoD includes water, sewer, electric, natural gas and district heating utility services on the three military installations (Fort Wainwright, Fort Greely, and JBER). These services were previously provided by the DoD. The utility services are provided under contracts that were publically bid under federal procurement regulations designed to allow utility services to be privatized on military installations across the country. The contracts for privatization required regulation of the utility operations by the Commission. The Commission has suspended the rate increase requests for investigation and invited DoD participation. The AG elected to participate in the docket and began an investigation. Doyon Utilities and DoD subsequently requested and were granted a stay of all twelve proceedings to allow Doyon Utilities and DoD to explore possible settlement. The results of settlement discussions between Doyon Utilities and DoD are pending.
McGrath Light & Power Company (MLPC).
RCA Docket U-12-140 (Electric). Utility Profile.
On September 14, 2012, MLPC filed a request to increase its rates by 48.7 percent and to revise its rate structure and fuel cost recovery methodology. This was the Commission's first review of MLPC's rates in over twenty–five years. The AG elected to participate at the Commission's request. After the AG's investigation, MLPC and the AG negotiated a settlement of all issues and presented a stipulation for Commission acceptance that resulted in a 40.01 percent increase to MLPC's revenue requirement. The stipulation also incorporated AG-proposed revisions to MLPC's rate design and fuel cost recovery mechanism. On September 17, 2013 the Commission issued an order accepting the stipulation.
Mile 8 Utilities (Mile 8).
RCA Docket U-13-157 (Water)/U-13-158 (Wastewater). Utility Profile.
Mile 8 is a small water and wastewater utility providing service in Settler's Bay near Wasilla, Alaska. On July 1, 2013, Mile 8 filed a request for a 12.39 percent rate increase for water service and a request for rate increases of 15.27 percent per year for four years for wastewater service. The AG elected to participate in this docket and is investigating whether the requested rates are reasonable. A hearing is scheduled to begin June 5, 2014.
Municipal Light & Power (ML&P).
RCA Docket U-12-149 (Electric). Utility Profile.
This docket was opened by the Commission to evaluate a new ML&P depreciation study. Utilities are required to file depreciation studies periodically to evaluate the lifespan of utility plant assets and the method by which these plant assets depreciate over time. The depreciation rates set are then used to determine depreciation expense which is a component of the ratemaking formula used in a rate case to set consumer rates. The AG and the Federal Executive Agency (FEA) filed testimony on April 15, 2013 recommending changes in ML&P's depreciation methodology. After all testimony was filed, a settlement was reached resulting in a reduction in ML&P's annual depreciation expense by over $1.03 million per year. Under the settlement, ML&P also agreed to prospectively modify its accounting on reimbursements for relocations. The Commission accepted the stipulation on October 17, 2013.
RCA Docket U-13-006 (Electric).
This ML&P rate case was filed in December 2012. ML&P is seeking a 9.72 percent rate increase. The AG elected to participate in the docket and the Federal Executive Agency (FEA) has also intervened. The AG's investigation and testimony recommends ML&P's rate increase be limited to 3.59 percent. A hearing to resolve disputed issues is scheduled to begin February 18, 2014.
RCA Docket U-13-184 (Electric).
This ML&P rate case was filed in September 2013. ML&P is seeking an immediate 13.35 percent rate increase, with another rate increase of 5.15 percent in September of 2014 for a total rate increase of 18.52 percent. The claimed driver for the proposed rate increase is ML&P's share of the South-central Power Project (SPP). The AG has intervened in the docket at the Commission's request, and a procedural schedule will be set to adjudicate ML&P's rate increase request in due course.
Nikishka Bay Utilities, Inc. (NBBI).
RCA Docket U-13-005 (Water). Utility Profile.
NBUI provides water utility service in certain subdivisions off the Kenai Spur Highway. On December 4, 2012, NBUI filed a request to increase utility rates by 19.5 percent and to redesign its rates. The AG elected to participate in this docket at the Commission's request, and after an investigation filed testimony finding the proposed rate increase reasonable but recommending rejection of NBUI's rate-re-design. On October 25, 2013 the parties filed a stipulation resolving all disputed issues in the docket. A decision is pending.
Potter Creek Water Co. (Potter Creek).
RCA Docket U-13-155 (Water). Utility Profile.
Potter Creek provides water service in Anchorage to approximately 136 residential customers. On May 20, 2013, Potter Creek filed a request to increase its customer charge by over ninety-five percent, and to reduce its metered rate per 1,000 gallons by approximately sixteen percent. The AG elected to participate in the docket at the Commission's request. The AG is scheduled to file responsive testimony on March 7, 2014. Potter Creek is scheduled to file reply testimony April 4, 2014 and a hearing is scheduled to begin May 19, 2014.