Each year, when we finally get our few days of real summer, I tend to wonder how many of the people I see out exploring will wind up telling the story of how they came for a week and never left. Juneau is a community of the people who choose to stay, and AEL&P has been an integral part of that community for 124 years. We are proud of our long history and the steps we’ve taken to provide an essential service to the folks in Juneau. As employees, and as your friends and neighbors, we care just as much about this community as you do. Whether we were born and raised here or simply came for a visit and never left, we choose to stay and raise our families in Juneau because we love this community.
There has been some information discussed lately that has caused some speculation and concern about AEL&P and our future. We’d like to set the record straight.
The proposed acquisition of AEL&P’s parent company Avista by Hydro One does not change our operating structure as a subsidiary of Avista. You can expect no material impact on AEL&P, our employees or our community involvement as a result of this transaction.
When Avista partnered with us in 2014, they promised Bill Corbus, all of us at AEL&P and the community at large that they would maintain the Corbus family legacy. This meant a commitment to the community through philanthropic efforts, continued local control of our utility, a focus on customer service, and support of AEL&P’s employees and culture.
Avista has kept its word.
Avista’s ownership of AEL&P and involvement in Juneau has been positive for our community.
• We’ve been able to continue to operate locally and independently, and make decisions that are best for our company and our customers. When Tim McLeod retired this year, Avista didn’t bring in someone from the outside. Instead they agreed with Tim’s recommendation to promote someone who grew up in Juneau and had worked at the company for twenty years.
• The majority of AEL&P’s earnings are reinvested here in Juneau — maintaining and strengthening our infrastructure and enhancing reliability.
• Because of our partnership with Avista, we’ve been able to save money for our customers through reduced insurance costs and via vendor discounts.
• With Avista’s support since 2014, $200,000 dollars have been infused in local non-profits and other organizations that are strengthening our community.
While the proposed merger with Hydro One is a significant decision for Avista, they, and AEL&P, will operate as we do today. We will continue to run our utility locally, with local employees and the local feel we’ve always had.
We are confident that the merger on the horizon for Avista will not negatively impact AEL&P or Juneau. Our partnership with Avista, and their relationship with Hydro One, will only strengthen our ability to provide Juneau with reliable, renewable hydropower.
As we’ve always done, we’ll continue to be here, working hard for our customers and our community. If you have any questions about what you’ve heard or want to talk with us, please reach out or stop by.
• Connie Hulbert is president and general manager of Alaska Electric Light and Power Company.