I’ll be doing a lot of coin-flipping when deciding who to vote for in the election this week.
Most of the ballot will be something of a mystery, starting with the question of whether to sell ML&P to Chugach Electric and including choosing between the various candidates for public office.
The obvious problem with the ML&P sale is that the deal was put together and negotiated almost entirely in secret. It might be a good idea, but, like most members of the public, I can’t be sure. The experts, if you trust experts, generally say the big utility sale is a good idea and one that will be of financial benefit to the city.
It’s a huge deal and the Chugach ratepayers, including us, will be paying for it. The Chugach leadership say rates won’t rise and there won’t be any major layoffs as a result of the sale. That’s good news if you put much faith in the words “as a result of the sale.” A moratorium on rate increases would be nice, but there is room for weaseling in the words. If management subsequently decides they want a rate increase to make things work they will just have to come up with other reasons than the sale to blame it on. And I guess no layoffs is a good thing — if you are an employee of either utility — but as a ratepayer I think some thinning of the ranks and elimination of unnecessary employees could be a good thing.