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REGULATORY COMMISSION OF ALASKA

 

Before Commissioners:  Stephen A. McAlpine, Chairman
Paul F. Lisankie
Rebecca L. Pauli
Robert Pickett
Janis W. Wilson

CONTINUED PUBLIC MEETING 
April 27, 2018 - 9:00 o'clock a.m.

COMMISSIONER PICKETT: Good morning. This is a continuation of a public meeting of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska from Wednesday, April 25th, 2018. It is Friday, April 27th, 2018 at o'clock a.m. 

With me on the dais are Commissioner Lisankie, Commissioner Pauli, and Commissioner Wilson. Chairman McAlpine will not be with us today. I'm Bob Pickett, commissioner with the RCA.

Agenda item No.1 is public participation. 

Is there anyone in the Anchorage audience who would care to address the commission this morning? Yes, please come forward and state your name for the record. Limit your comments to five minutes, if you could. 

MR. HARBOR: Thank you, Commissioner Pickett. My name is Dave Harbor. I'm a ratepayer with Chugach Electric Association. While the proceeding today doesn't concern that issue, an upcoming issue may be involved. 

The intent of these remarks today is to alert the commission to the fact that one organization in the City of Anchorage, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, has made certain assurances to the people of Anchorage that appear to involve the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

In a letter dated March 7th, 2018, the AEDC's president, Bill Popp, and chair, Raquel Edelen, said that if Proposition 10 is approved by the Anchorage voters, AEDC will be closely following the development of the final agreement that will ultimately be presented through three public processes for final approval. The three public processes will be the Anchorage Assembly, Chugach Electric Board of Directors, and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. 

The intent of AEDC seemed to be to give confidence to the people of Anchorage that if they voted yes on that proposition, the RCA would save the day by making sure that all the promises uttered during that campaign would be promises kept. 

While the Regulatory Commission of Alaska did not enter into that discussion or make any of those promises, I think it's proper to for us to recognize that without dissent, certain public bodies as well as politicians have made statements that the Regulatory Commission of Alaska will be at the end of the process; thus inferring that the Regulatory Commission of Alaska will make sure that promises made are promises kept. 

For that reason, I would urge the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the Commissioners, to consider formally requesting that the attorney general and RAPA become involved in formally representing the ratepayers of Chugach Electric and Municipal Light & Power because without that representation, there would seem to be no evidence in the record of any sort of opposition or professional opposition. 

For example, the mayor of Anchorage will not be opposing it; nor will the Assembly of Anchorage; nor will the board of Chugach Electric Association; nor will the board and extensive list of advisers to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. Therefore, it will appear to be, by the time it reaches this body, a done deal. 

All the promises about lower rates, and yet we won't fire anybody, and on and on and on, will be subject to future rate determinations and cost of service adjudication. So this is the time to be thinking about it.

And I do urge the Commissioners to be thinking about how they would assure that the consumers, the ratepayers of Southcentral Alaska, are protected as a result of this extremely important process. 

Thank you very much. 

COMMISSIONER PICKETT: And thank you.

.....

COMMISSIONER PICKETT: Mr. Harbor, with your consent, I've had a request from one of the Commissioners to ask you a question. If you'd be willing to come back up to the table. I did not put her up to it. 

MR. HARBOR: I hope the answer is as good as the question. 

COMMISSIONER PAULI: You're very optimistic on the question. 

Actually, more than a question, I wanted to remind you, as I'm sure you're well aware from when you were sitting on this side, that there does not have to be a formal intervention for entities or concerned persons to file documents. I'm specifically looking at 110(a) and the last sentence: The commission does not grant formal intervention as such in nonhearing matters, and any interested person may file documents authorized under 48.010 to 170 without first obtaining permission. 

I would urge interested persons to place those comments in the record, to come and speak, because that is how the evidence will get there. I'm not sure what the AG's policy is, but in this case it would appear that the group that are going to be impacted by this decision would be a fairly defined group. I don't know, like I said, if the AG's office gets involved in those types of issues, but I would not wait for the AG's office. I would just start filing and coming to public meetings, and in that way it will get into the record. 

The RCA, while oftentimes we get painted into a corner timewise, seems to be with ML&P quite a bit, that the commission does look at things independently. I would hope that by the time this does come before the RCA, that they continue to do that. But, yeah, have people start filing, because that's the only that is the only way that they're going to be heard. RAPA may not have the same interests as the ratepayer group that you're referring to. 

MR. HARBOR: Commissioner Pauli, you're right. Your observations and questions are always very thoughtful, and I noted them the last time I appeared as well as this time. I agree with you. 

The problem that I foresee is that you have the massive, combined, highly professional legal representation of a number of organizations all lined up in one way, and nobody professionally lined up the other way to at least ask the questions. 

And that and I don't mean to suggest that the Commission doesn't ask the right questions, but in the final analysis an adjudication or a final decision's got to be based on a record, and that record is more fully developed when we have competing forces at work on this side of the bench. 

So at any rate, I do appreciate your remarks. I don't represent anybody except myself. To me, this is a continuation of my public service. I'm deeply disturbed that it's gotten this far without -- and people voting on things. They have no idea what the impact is, and accepting promises as though those promises would weather the storms of future rate cases when rate cases are supposed to be based on cost of service and just and reasonable decisions. No. 

When the political process is over, forget the promises. It's going to depend on the regulatory process on professional representation before this body, the record that's developed, and the wise decisions that the commissioners make. 

COMMISSIONER PAULI: And along those lines, because of course the discovery process and we only see what gets entered through an exhibit, and while as somebody filing comments you wouldn't have access to that, you will have access if there is to be anything that's prefiled or documents that are filed, and be able to ask what we miss and oftentimes the professionals miss, which are the common-sense questions and the reminder of, like you said, how are we going to handle this in a rate case based on cost of service? 

If CEA prevails, it will be a tier, so you won't have some of the same issues, but and I appreciate about having the professionals, but I often think that common sense prevails, especially when you have a Commission that, no offense to fellow commissioners I was a judge of a different type than Commissioner Wilson and this is getting off topic, but what the heck. What are they going to do to me? This is my last public meeting. 

COMMISSIONER PICKETT: You might get fired.

COMMISSIONER PAULI: please. But-- 

MR. HARBOR: Welcome to the other side. 

COMMISSIONER PAULI: one of 5 the things that I am continually frustrated by is the record that we have that we're making a decision on, and that the common sense does get lost, and the questions that are getting sort of tied back, people get caught up in the excitement of industry and the process and, you know, getting things resolved and forget to ask the common-sense questions. And I'm guilty of that as well. 

So, again, I would urge you you have a great deal of experience and have you will have more experience than at least two of the Commissioners who will be sitting up here to ask those common-sense questions and provide what you would expect to see as the answer in your comments and wait and see what the utilities say, so with that, I will stop. 

COMMISSIONER PICKETT: And thank you for coming back up, Mr. Harbor. 

Is there anyone on line who would care to address the Commission this morning? 

Hearing none, I'll return to the East Hearing Room. Is there anyone else who would care to address the Commission? 

I will go back on line one more time. Anyone on line who would care to address the Commission? 

With that, I will close agenda item NO.1, public participation. 


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