Alaska faces unique challenges in every area of delivery: from heat to electricity to telecommunications, and much more. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska is charged with setting fair rules for Alaskans, but too often only industry professionals have the expertise and time to track these issues, which determine Alaskans’ day-to-day.
Look below to learn what we’re working on.
The railbelt region encompasses the service areas of six regulated public utilities that extend from Fairbanks to Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. Sixty five percent of Alaska's population lives within the railbelt region and each utility has their own source of power generation despite this generation capacity being far greater than user demand. A cooperative agreement among the utilities is needed to allow cost and energy efficiency gains by drawing power from the most efficient source on the railbelt grid.
What We’re Doing
Utility efficiency affects most Alaskans but current practices are underreported to consumers.
AkPIRG is working with other concerned groups to grow a public base of utility efficiency-oriented citizens.
Building a coalition of concerned citizens.
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska is currently in hearings on the creation of an Independent System Operator; AkPIRG is working to promote awareness and provide public comment on this process.
Advocating for a regional system operator and central system transmission.
Other non-profits working on railbelt utility unification include:
Rural Alaska is difficult to service for telecommunications carriers. That's why the government offers a subsidy, named the Alaska Universal Service Fund, for those "carriers of last resort". Now, those regulations are under threat, and the telecomms industry has been deregulated.
Rural Broadband & Telephone Service
Alaskans face some of the toughest logistical hurdles in the nation to accessing the internet due to the vast geographic distances between communities, lack of infrastructure, and the wide variety of extreme climate conditions experienced throughout the state. The loss of net neutrality and a free and open internet resulting from recent FCC actions will only complicate and exacerbate the costs of internet access for Alaskans, thereby hindering economic growth and giving additional advantages to large, multi-national corporate interests.
What We’re Working On:
We’re working with national coalition partners to ensure that this country doesn’t continue to function through the persuasion of broadband lobbyists, but rather through the recognition of internet services as a public utility.
Overturning the FCC repeal of Net Neutrality protections.
Many U.S. States have taken matters into their own hands, which you can read more about here.
Advocating for State-level protections.
Consumers need to know about the protections offered under net neutrality, and the impacts of its repeal. AkPIRG will be raising awareness through public information campaigns.
You can read our recent article about how the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court threatens Net Neutrality protections.