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For immediate release
December 18, 2007 at 5:23pm
For more information, contact
Dave Smith 762-4518

Chugach Electric Association Blue Ribbon Panel Report Available

Chugach Electric Association Board Chair Elizabeth Vazquez will release the utility's Blue Ribbon Panel Report at a press conference tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on December 19th.

Blue Ribbon Panel Report

Among the most startling findings, the report states that the Board should "take steps to eliminate the co-op as the business model and concentrate on other models to achieve a more efficient, cost effective and financially healthy utility."

The Board appointed five leading, long-time Alaskan business executives earlier this year to review the utility's overall performance and make recommendations for the future.

Appointed were David Gottstein, President, Dynamic Capital Management; Robert Hickel, President, Hickel Investment Company; Loren Lounsbury, former Alaska Public Utilities Commissioner and Commerce Commissioner; Richard Lowell, President, Ribelin Lowell & Co. Insurance Brokers (retired); and John Wanamaker, Vice-Chairman, Venture Ad Astra LLC. Bill Noll, previously Alaska's Commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, acted as the group's facilitator.

The panel recommended that Chugach intensify its transparency and benchmarking, which is a way to measure how a business stacks up against others in its peer group. For its report the panel hired a national firm, which indicated that the amount Chugach charges its ratepayers for non-fuel electric distribution costs far exceeds those in other American communities with similar utility systems.

Chair Vazquez said, "The Board is very thankful for the efforts of these Alaskan leaders. In addition to looking at fuel supply and costs, we are building a strategy to reduce non-fuel rates, taking Panel recommendations to heart. Furthermore, we assure you that we will pull out all the stops to ensure that the public and the ratepayers will be fully informed every step of the way."

The Blue Ribbon Panel also recommended that Chugach improve its communications. "Transparency must be an integral part of the agenda," the report stated.

The panel began meeting in July and delivered its report to the Board November 9, 2007. Copies of the report will be distributed at the press conference. Board Chair Vazquez and Blue Ribbon Panel members will be available for comments at the press conference.

The Board thanks the Blue Ribbon Panel for its hard work and recommendations. The Board intends to carefully consider each of the recommendations and develop a plan to meet the challenges identified in the Panel's report.

Chugach is the largest electric utility in Alaska.

Note: A press conference will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19th, at the Chugach headquarters building, 5601 Electron Drive. Call 762-4736 for directions or see: