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May 2018

Vol. 23, No.19 Week of May 13, 2018

RCA sets meeting schedule for Railbelt grid

Alan Bailey

Petroleum News

During its public meeting on May 9 the Regulatory Commission of Alaska set a schedule of further meetings for reviews of the status of voluntary efforts by the Alaska Railbelt electricity utilities for a more unified approach to the management and operation of the Railbelt electrical system.

Commissioner Robert Pickett announced that in a May 23 meeting the utilities would be asked to provide a status report on moves to form a single transmission company to operate the transmission grid; a June 13 meeting will review the status of efforts towards the economic dispatch on the electrical system of the cheapest available power generation; and a June 27 meeting will address the status of implementing unified and enforced reliability standards on the grid.

Since 2015, when the RCA issued an opinion stating that unification of the electrical grid management and operation should proceed, the commission has been encouraging the utilities to proceed toward unification on a voluntary basis.

Commission Chair Stephen McAlpine commented that he is concerned that the unification process is moving very slowly, and that he has heard comments from legislators and from members of the public that the process is taking too long.

Commissioner Antony Scott commented that there is a credibility issue in relation to public perceptions, given the need to see something definitive come out of what is happening. It is necessary at this point to be clear about what has been achieved, what still needs to be done, what the issues are, and what the anticipated timeline is, Scott commented. - ALAN BAILEY






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