Energy Democracy for All Vote in Your Utility Election!
by Rachel Christensen
The average price of electricity in the United States is $10.59/per kilowatt-hour. Alaska comes to double the national rate with a state-wide average of $19.82/kilowatt-hour (2021, US Energy Information Administration). Alaskans have some of the highest electric rates in the country, ranking second only to Hawaii. We also face unique challenges due to the state’s terrain and our extremely dispersed population. Transmission lines here in Alaska go much farther between stations than they would in other areas; this, coupled with our increasingly unpredictable winter weather events, has brought us unprecedented power outages this winter with longer wait times for restoration due to icy roads and windstorms. Electricity is a life-sustaining service; it provides heat and food, and for many rural communities, it is the only access to emergency services. So, who is working on these issues facing Alaska’s electrical grid?
Most Alaskans get their electricity from utility cooperatives. A board of directors leads these cooperatives to ensure that the lights stay on, the rates are affordable, and the communities are happy. If you pay an electric bill to one of these cooperatives, you are a member-owner, which means that you have the right to elect and hold board members accountable. Utility board members make decisions that impact generations of Alaskans. They work every day on issues such as:
• Where our power comes from. • Which areas get transmission upgrades. • What our rates are. • What the future of our electric grid will look like.
That means your voice matters when it’s time to pick utility board members. This spring Chugach Electric Association (CEA) has elections for two seats on their board. These seats represent all of Anchorage and parts of Eagle River, Turnagain, and Girdwood. Starting on April 20, all member-owners will have the opportunity to practice energy democracy by casting their vote. CEA has many incentives to vote, and there are drawings throughout the voting period for prizes ranging from a cordless lawnmower to a free year of electricity. These elections are a great way to create real change in your community and an opportunity to ensure your values are represented in our future. Ballots will be delivered by mail with your utility bill, but you can also vote online or in-person on May 20 at the CEA member appreciation day event. You own your utility.
Make sure your voice is heard, and vote!
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska