- Associated Press - Friday, September 8, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Officials from six of Alaska’s largest electric utilities are working to form a joint transmission company they hope to have approved by the end of next year.

The collection of officials from the Railbelt region notified the Regulatory Commission of Alaska of their intent during a meeting last month, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported (https://bit.ly/2f9fcJG ). The officials are working toward internal approval for the company by the end of this year.

With internal approval at each entity, the utilities could submit a formation plan to the commission early next year that would make regulatory approval possible by late 2018.

The utilities cover an area from Fairbanks to Homer that is home to the majority of the state’s population.

Proponents say the jointly owned operation would allow the pooling of transmission lines and resources that spreads the costs of large infrastructure projects. It would also help assure that the benefits of such projects reach more people.

The commission ordered the utilities to explore the idea of forming a transmission company in 2015. The commission said the utilities had not collaborated enough to maximize efficiencies and economies of scale in delivering electricity.

To form the company, the utilities would give up individual control of the transmission lines. This has caused some hesitation from the utilities as the lines can provide a source of revenue from access charges.

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Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, https://www.alaskajournal.com

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