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State funding change to increase rural Alaska utility bills

July 17, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Residents of rural Alaska will be hit with rising energy costs after a statewide funding change.

Alaska’s Energy Deskreported Monday that the Legislature annually transfers money from state accounts into the Constitutional Budget Reserve.

Officials say a $1 billion energy account used to offset costs for rural communities is included in the transfer known as “the sweep.”

Lawmakers for the past 28 years have returned the funds, until this year when they voted not to replenish the large savings account.

Companies say homeowners’ bills could increase from an average of $80 up to thousands of dollars per month.

An electric cooperative in the Unalakleet Valley says more than 270 homes, 40 businesses and 22 community facilities should expect higher bills.

State officials say funding alternatives are being discussed.

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Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

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