I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, make the following findings:
1. On September 16, 1998, I declared a disaster exists in the communities of Stebbins, St. Michael, Minto, and Manley Hot Springs due to the catastrophically low salmon returns jeopardizing the health and safety of individuals in the disaster area. I subsequently amended the declaration to include the communities of Nelson Lagoon, False Pass, and Tyonek. Disaster relief to be provided will include vouchers or payments from the state or federal government on behalf of qualified individuals for certain essential needs including electric power costs.
2. Power cost equalization (PCE) customer eligibility standards are set out in 19 AAC 97.260. Under 19 AAC 97.260, customers of eligible electric utilities are required to make payments to the utilities for the electric power purchased. As noted, planned disaster relief includes payments to an eligible utility on behalf of qualified individuals. Therefore, individuals receiving assistance with electric power costs would not themselves be making payments to the utilities. Under 19 AAC 97.260 the individuals would not meet the standards for PCE eligibility for the time period for which disaster assistance is provided.
3. I find that compliance with 19 AAC 97.260 would substantially impede action necessary to cope with the disaster declared on September 16, 1998. Disaster relief is intended to assist qualified individuals with essential needs, including electricity. Disqualifying an individual from PCE during the period for which the individual receives disaster relief in the form of assistance with electric costs would increase the individual’s electric costs and decrease the effectiveness of the disaster relief. In addition, delivery of disaster relief under the declaration made on September 16, 1998, would be unduly complicated if it had to be tracked for effect on PCE eligibility. Also, there would be increased administration costs to the state agencies and the utilities involved.
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 1 of the Alaska Constitution and AS 26.23.020(g)(l) I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, make the following order:
19 AAC 97.260 is suspended to the extent compliance would preclude qualified individuals in the disaster area described in the September 16 disaster declaration and in any subsequent amendments which have been made to the declaration, from meeting customer eligibility standards for PCE solely because they are receiving disaster relief for electric power costs. This suspension is effective for utility billing periods for which disaster relief payments are provided to qualified individuals for electric power costs under the disaster declaration of September 16, 1998, and subsequent amendments thereto.
This Order takes effect immediately.
Dated at Anchorage, Alaska, this 16 day of October 1998.
By: S/S Tony Knowles