Gov. Dunleavy signs bill to help alleviate electric bill cost to rural Alaskans

Gov. Dunleavy signs bill to help alleviate electric bill cost to rural Alaskans
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 2:23 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill Friday that promises to cut energy costs for rural Alaskans by way of the state’s Power Cost Equalization program.

Senate Bill 243, introduced by state Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), expands the maximum kilowatt-hour usage for rural residential customers from 500 kWh to 750 kWh per month.

With electric bill costs “three to five times higher” for almost 82,000 Alaska residents in nearly 200 communities across the state, Dunleavy cited skyrocketing inflation rates across the country and within the state as an impetus for signing the bill, which establishes a new ceiling for electricity use that the program is allowed to give residents.

“I am pleased to sign HB 243 to assist those who live in rural Alaska and face extremely high utility rates,” Dunleavy said. “Raising the maximum kilowatt hour available for PCE relief will help lessen the burden on our rural residents.”

The program was established in 1985, according to the statement, to help alleviate the burden of high energy costs to rural residents. The new bill effectively restores usage levels to those that were used from 1985 to 1993.

“The PCE program serves as a crucial lifeline for rural Alaskans as it helps bridge the gap in the cost of energy between urban and rural Alaska,” Alaska Energy Authority Executive Director Curtis W. Thayer said in the release. “This legislation reaffirms the Legislature and Governor’s strong commitment to rural Alaska with this increase in PCE payments by up to 50 percent.”

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