- Associated Press - Saturday, June 23, 2018

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - State officials are asking two Fairbanks utilities to pass on an estimated $1 million in savings from federal tax-cut legislation to customers.

Officials with Golden Heart Utilities and College Utilities Corp. said they would prefer to put the savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 toward a revenue deficiency, which would delay a rate increase, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

“The customers are receiving the benefit of the Tax Act right now due to the fact that we did not need to file a rate case this year,” said Anna Merrill, regulatory affairs manager for the utilities, which are owned by Corix, a company owned by the British Columbia Investment Management Corp.

Lawyers for both sides spoke Thursday at a Regulatory Commission of Alaska hearing in Fairbanks.

John Ptacin, a chief assistant attorney general over state regulatory affairs, called for the hearing after his office petitioned the regulatory commission to see whether investor-owned utilities need to adjust their rates to reflect federal tax cuts.

“All we are trying to do is protect the ratepayers in the event that there is overcollection occurring,” he told a panel of commissioners led by Chairman Stephen McAlpine.

Other investor-owned utilities, including Enstar Natural Gas Co. in Anchorage, lowered their rates after the passage of the 2017 Tax Act, according to the commission.

Utilities in other states are also reportedly reviewing their rates in light of the federal tax cut savings.

Merrill told the regulatory commission that the Fairbanks utilities ended last year with revenue deficiencies of about $1.4 million.

“Had it not been for the Tax Act, a rate increase would have been justified,” she said.

Golden Heart Utilities and College Utilities Corp. have more than 9,000 customers and serve about 55,000 people in the Fairbanks area.

The regulatory commission has a year to make a decision on the case.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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