Chugach Electric Completes Acquisition of ML&P
Chugach Electric Association announced the closing of the acquisition of Municipal Light & Power (ML&P). The final step in the transaction comes two and a half years after 65 percent of Anchorage voters approved selling the municipal-owned utility.
“This is a historic day, and I am grateful for the hard work and efforts of so many,” says Chugach CEO Lee Thibert. “We could not have done this without the support of the employees, our board of directors, the administration and Anchorage Assembly, and the citizens of Anchorage. This has truly been a community effort.”
“The Chugach Board of Directors is proud to have been a part of this initiative—one that has been talked about for decades,” says Board Chair Bettina Chastain. “This will benefit Chugach members far into the future as we continue to provide reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses while achieving greater savings and efficiencies.”
In April 2018, Anchorage voters approved the sale of ML&P for roughly $1 billion. Following the vote, Chugach filed for approval of the transaction on April 1, 2019 with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). After several weeks of RCA hearings and additional time to analyze the transaction, the RCA gave approval on May 28, 2020, with conditions that were met on August 20. The total transaction is valued at $986 million.
The combination of the two utilities is expected to lead to lower long-term rates for all utility ratepayers with an estimated savings of more than $200 million over the next 15 years.
“As Alaska businesses, individuals, and the economy as a whole face financial difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to bring these utilities together,” Thibert says.
As part of the acquisition, Chugach kept its commitment to offer jobs to all ML&P employees who wanted to stay with the utility. The combined utility has approximately 92,000 members and 500 employees.
In order to consolidate records to help facilitate a smooth transition for ML&P customers as they become Chugach members, Chugach offices will be closed November 2 and 3. The first day of operations for the combined utility is November 4.
Chugach members can continue to do business online and current ML&P customers will be able to sign up to become a Chugach members starting November 4 at https://www.chugachelectric.com/powering-anchorage-together.
Former ML&P customers will also receive a welcome brochure and a member application in the mail from Chugach in the coming days. The application will be available on the Chugach website beginning November 4.
During the two-day closure, Chugach will respond to power outages and other emergencies as usual but will not be available for member service requests.
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Alaska Problems Require Alaska Solutions
On January 16, a fire destroyed the water plant and washeteria in the southwest Alaska village of Tuluksak. For the village of about 350 people, it was a devastating blow. The water plant was the only source of drinking water in the village, in which the primarily Yup’ik residents lack indoor plumbing and rely on honey buckets, not uncommon in the flat, swampy region.