ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET EDITORIAL
There are at least two things that stand out about the proposed $1 billion sale of Anchorage’s Municipal Light & Power utility to the Chugach Electric Association: the secrecy involved in initial talks and reducing the vote required for passage from 60 percent to 50 percent.
It is unsettling that the city and Chugach were in talks for weeks, if not months or longer, while other utilities and interested buyers who signed on late were given no real attention.
It is bothersome how the city went about hooking up with Chugach. There were no requests for proposals; no bid requests, no bids, no nothing. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the Assembly decided it was time to sell ML&P and they started a secret process to do so. The public was kept in the dark until Dec. 21, when Berkowitz announced the sale. The city’s ML&P Commission was not even told until the day before.
Sale proponents say the due diligence and public hearings and detailed information that should have been public already – and would have been with a proper bidding process – will be forthcoming after the election in which, with only a 50 percent vote, a sale is approved. They seem to be saying, “Trust us.”