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
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
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
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.
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Alaska Legislature: Senate Bipartisan Working Group
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