OPINION: The other choice: Chugach Electric's board race

From Nathan Andrews

Updated: 31 Some minutes ago Published: 31 Some minutes ago

There's an election going on in south-central Alaska, and it's not at the forefront of Anchorage residents' minds. This is the annual election of the Chugach Electric Association (CEA) Board of Directors. There are four candidates running for the two available seats: two incumbents who have made questionable decisions over the last four years, and two new challengers who want to bring stability to your local electric cooperative.

While the exact origin of the phrase “what goes around comes around” has been debated, we can all agree that actions do indeed have consequences. This can be proven by looking back to middle school science class where we learned Newton's third law of motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This principle can also be demonstrated in a less physical way by reviewing the many decisions we make every day. As adults, we take responsibility for our decisions and actions and the intended and unintended consequences of them.

Then consider the consequences of re-electing two candidates who:

• Voted for a nearly 6 percent increase in tax rates for CEA members.

• Voted to increase board member salaries from $300 per day (2023) to $600 per day (2025), peaking at a staggering $750 per day in 2026.

• Voted for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that “broadens the focus of the financial bottom line to include social and environmental responsibility” and requires that compliance costs be reimbursed in installments.

Elected and appointed officials are unlikely to be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. This is particularly concerning when it comes to decisions that have long-term impacts on our community, such as those related to energy infrastructure and tariffs. Chugach Electric Association members have the power to shape the future of our cooperative through their votes in board elections.

It is critical that we carefully review incumbents' past actions and decisions and evaluate whether they are consistent with our best interests as ratepayers and Chugach Electric community members.

The two new challengers in this election, Todd Lindley and Dan Rodgers, both professional engineers, offer a refreshing perspective and the opportunity for change. By bringing new voices to the board, we can work toward a more stable, transparent and accountable cooperative that prioritizes the needs of its members over potentially short-lived environmental policies.

The deadline for voting is May 17; As you vote in this year's Chugach Electric election, remember that the decisions you make today will have consequences for years to come. Let’s hold our elected board members accountable and ensure that the Chugach Electric Association Board of Directors serves the best interests of Southcentral Alaska.

Nathan Andrews is a lifelong Alaskan, husband, father, construction professional and ratepayer for Chugach Electric.

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