SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Proposed Plan to Keep Homes Warm This Winter Unveiled


August 05, 2008

Monday night the Senate Bipartisan Working Group unveiled the 2008 Home Heating and Energy Relief Plan. Senators spent the past two months crafting a bill to lift the burden from thousands of Alaskan families wondering how they will keep their homes warm this winter.

"High oil prices are a double edged sword for Alaska," said Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Bert Stedman. "It gives the state a huge surplus but it also sends home heating bills through the roof. Our plan targets the energy problem instead of just throwing money at it."

"Families in Southcentral Alaska are also struggling to pay their home heating bill," said Senator Bettye Davis. "Natural gas rates have doubled in the past few years so this legislation will be welcome news to many families wondering how they will pay their natural gas bill this winter."

The proposed plan delivers home heating and energy relief over the next two fiscal years on four fronts:

1) Home Heating Relief

This multi pronged approach will keep every Alaskan home warm during the long, cold winter ahead. The legislation calls for subsidizing all home heating fuels whether it is fuel oil, propane, natural gas or electricity.

The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) will administer a two year temporary relief payment program to Alaskans using propane or heating oil to warm their homes. An Alaska resident sends their heating oil or propane receipt to the AEA and get a payment for the amount paid over three dollars per gallon up to 600 gallons per year.

Landlords applying for the heating oil and propane program will be required to pass on the savings to their tenants minus ten percent for administrative costs. The program will run from September 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 and from September 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

Natural gas customers will also receive financial help. Rebates will be available for purchases up to 100 Mcf during the winter months. Homes heated with electricity will be subsidized for up to 16.1 kilowatts a year.

The cap for the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Fund will be increased from $500,000 to $750,000.

2) Power Cost Equalization

Homes lit by diesel powered generators are going to see a tremendous increase in the cost of electricity this winter.

The Senate plan increases Power Cost Equalization payments by relieving power costs that are above ten cents per kilowatt hour for the first 500 hours. Right now it does not begin paying until 12.8 cents per KWH.

The current PCE program pays power generation costs up to 52 cents per KWH. The new limit under SB 4002 raises that to $1.15 per KWH.

Alaskans in areas not served by the PCE program, regardless of which utility they purchase power from, will also see a five cent per KWH reduction on the first 500 KWH per month.

Changes to the PCE program will end on June 30, 2010 and the program will go back to its former rates.

3) Home Weatherization

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's Home Energy Rebate, Weatherization, and Loan Program is a remarkable success but the money appropriated to the program last session is almost gone.

The Home Heating and Energy Relief Plan appropriates another 60 million to fund home weatherization efforts. This long term solution lowers home heating bills for many winters to come.

4) $500 Resource Rebate

Every Alaskan eligible for the 2008 Permanent Fund Dividend will have an additional $500 dollars added to this year's dividend. Alaskans can use the money to pay home heating bills, weatherization projects or to pay for fill ups at a gas station.


Source of News:

Alaska Legislature: Senate Bipartisan Working Group


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter in SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2008
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska