Institutional Arrangements
Regulatory Structure
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has the authority to regulate both utilities and pipeline carriers within the state (Regulatory Commission of Alaska, 2018). The RCA exercises a delegated legislative power, and must reach its regulatory decisions quasi-judicially. In Alaska, most utilities providing services to ten or more customers require a certificate in order to operate. Certificates are issued by the RCA, which then regulates the rates, services, and practices of those utilities. The RCA also determines the level of support received by eligible customers under the Power Cost Equalization program. There are some utilities in Alaska that are not regulated, including local, government-owned utilities, very small utilities, and cooperatives whose members have voted to be deregulated.
Key Subsidies
The Power Cost Equalization Program (PCE) is a subsidy program providing economic assistance to communities and residents in rural Alaska where the cost of electricity is three to five times higher than for customers living in urban areas (Alaska Energy Authority, n.d.). The PCE is administered by the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (AEA), and serves 82,000 people in 193 communities primarily reliant on diesel fuel. The program works by lowering the rates paid by PCE-eligible consumers to levels comparable to those paid by consumers in the urban areas of Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.
Power Project Fund (PPF) loan program provides loans to local utilities, local governments or independent power producers for the development, expansion or upgrade of electric power facilities, including distribution, transmission, efficiency and conservation, bulk fuel storage and waste energy; Power Project Fund
Alaska Energy Authority Community Assistance - AEA assists across the entire lifecycle of communities’ infrastructure—from identifying a community’s needs and goals to providing training needed to manage utilities and maintain infrastructure. - Energy Planning Project Development
Key Federal Programmes
Key State Level Programmes
Policy environment
A key piece of Alaska’s policy strategy is the state’s energy plan, Alaska Energy Pathway - Towards Energy Independence. Published in 2010, the plan outlines targets and a roadmap for the future of energy in Alaska. The main goals and priorities outlined in the plan include: generating 50% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025; improving energy efficiency and conservation by 20% by 2020; addressing climate change; energy security; economic development; innovation; education and workforce development; and continued development of fossil fuel resources (Alaska Energy Authority, 2010).
Another important component of Alaska’s policy strategy relates to tribal lands. With over 44 million acres, Alaska has more territory held as tribal lands than any other state (United States Energy Information Administration, 2021). Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, passed in 1971, the state was divided into 12 geographic regions, each designated to a regional native corporation (United States Energy Information Administration, 2021). Unlike in the lower 48 states, where Native American reservations hold sovereign status, tribal lands in Alaska are owned by the native corporations (United States Energy Information Administration, 2021). Tribal lands in Alaska are home to oil and gas as well as renewable resources, therefore the regional native corporations play a key role in the direction of energy in the state.

At the federal level, the United States Energy Policy Act also contributes to Alaska’s policy strategy. The Energy Policy Act addresses energy production in the United States including: energy efficiency; renewable energy; oil and gas; coal; Tribal energy; nuclear matters and security; vehicle and motor fuels, including ethanol; hydrogen; electricity; energy tax incentives; hydropower and geothermal energy; and climate change technology (United States Environmental Protection Agency, n.d.). Policies, programs, and other directions set out in the federal Energy Policy Act apply to all states, therefore the legislation plays an important role in creating Alaska’s energy contex
Ownership structures


Alaska’s utilities are a mix between privately owned companies, cooperatives, and those owned by municipal or tribal governments. It is important to note that utilities owned by tribal governments differ from those owned by native regional corporations, which are classified as private companies. Community A