JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska state capital’s electric utility is set to change hands late next year, but some in the city are looking for a way to keep it under local control.

Avista, which is the parent company for Juneau’s power company, Alaska Light Electric & Power, is in the process of being bought by Canadian energy company Hydro One. The sale is expected to close in late 2018, the Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/2hr0ykn ) reported.

The two heads of Juneau Hydropower — President and CEO Keith Comstock and Managing Director Duff Mitchell — have expressed interest in ensuring the power company stays locally run. They sent a letter to Avista in 2016 to inquire about Avista’s interest in selling it. Avista declined. The two are now looking to do the same with Hydro One.

Mitchell said Tuesday that he and Comstock are not necessarily going to push for the two of them to run the utility, but more for Hydro One to consider relinquishing control to someone local.

“The first premise and the first goal is local control, local direction, whatever that is,” Mitchell said. “That’s the key, a local energy destiny, that the decision making is local.”

Comstock said that he and Mitchell have talked with financial backers, and that if Hydro One were interested in selling to them — just a hypothetical at this point — they would be able to get the funding.

The city finalized a short letter, serving as an introduction between the two businessmen and Hydro One President Mayo Schmidt. Comstock and Mitchell agreed that having the city introduce them is a good starting point.

“There’s a high level of credibility by having something by the (City and Borough of Juneau) just an exploratory letter and a letter of introduction,” Mitchell said. “That’s all it does, is allows us the opportunity to get to that perhaps first meeting so that we could sit down and if there is interest, then what are the options?”


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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