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Promote a healthy economy, strong communities, and protect consumers in Alaska. AS 44.33.020
- Economic Growth
- Sustainable Energy
- Strong Communities
- Consumer Protection
|A: Result - Department Results|
|A1: Core Service - Economic Growth|
Target #2: Issue $35 million in new loans each year.
Analysis of results and challenges: The past few years have shown steady use of the AIDEA Loan Participation program by the State’s commercial lenders. The commercial real estate market has been stable for the last several years. If oil prices remain at current levels, there is the possibility of a slowing economic environment. Decisions on the state budget deficit may also impact the commercial real estate market in the future. Lenders are currently highly liquid and the low interest rate environment is assisting in stabilizing demand.
The significant increase in new loans approved during FY2017 is caused by the low interest rate environment and clients’ needs to stabilize their debt service requirements over time.
Target #3: Review and authorize marijuana licenses for qualified persons and entities.
Active, Complete, and Delegated Marijuana Licenses by Type
Analysis of results and challenges: Under 3 AAC 306 there are six possible marijuana establishment licenses. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office began receiving applications in February of 2016 and began reviewing applications in April of 2016 for board review and approval. AMCO receives an average of 15 new applications each month; due to the complexity of marijuana statutes and regulations, application review is a lengthy process that often requires several contacts with the applicant regarding required corrections.
The marijuana license application system is an electronic database custom created for AMCO by the DCCED information technology (IT) team. The database allows applicants to progress through statuses including new, initiated, under review, incomplete, complete, delegated, and active, as well as void, rescinded, tabled, and denied. At each stage detailed instructions including training videos are available to applicants on AMCO’s website. The website also contains detailed FAQs, board meeting dates, agenda and board packets, forms, statutes and regulations, and the latest information for both marijuana and liquor license applicants.
There are three license examiners currently assigned to the marijuana program. However, the rate of new marijuana applications being submitted has consistently been greater than the rate at which AMCO examiners are able to review applications and corrections. In addition, AMCO has started receiving transfer applications for licensed marijuana establishments, as well as many change requests for operating establishments. Due to these demands on the licensing examiners, the waiting period for a new application to be reviewed has been 4-6 months. The current length of time it takes for applications to reach the board is a challenge for applicants.
A flow chart of marijuana license statuses is available online at:
|A2: Core Service - Sustainable Energy|
Target #1: By 2025, 50 percent of electricity generation is from renewable sources.
Analysis of results and challenges: Alaska’s renewable energy portfolio continues to grow slowly and steadily due in part to the impacts of the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA)’s Renewable Energy Grant Fund (REF) program.
The percentage of electrical need met by renewable generation has increased from 21.5% in 2010 to an estimated 29.42% in 2017 (final net generation figures for 2017 are not available from the Energy Information Administration until early 2019). Of the renewable generation, about 90% is produced by hydropower and 10% by wind power. Because so much renewable generation comes from hydropower, there are year-to-year fluctuations in overall renewable contribution based on weather. In years with little snow and low precipitation there will be a decrease in total renewable generation with no change in installed capacity. There was a decrease in the estimated percentage of total renewable generation in 2017 because the absolute production from both oil and natural gas increased, while renewable generation stayed roughly the same between 2016 and 2017.
In addition to the gains in electricity generation from renewable energy depicted in the graph above, the REF grant program has also funded renewable energy systems in rural locations whose utilities are not required to report to the Energy Information Administration. REF projects also provided gains in renewable heat energy, such as biomass and heat recovery. Heat recovery projects typically displace costly heating fuel in schools, water systems and other community facilities located in relatively close proximity to the powerhouse. Biomass projects displace heating fuel in non-residential buildings and bring energy security through local sourcing as well as job creation at the local level.
The only large renewable project currently slated for near term construction is expansion of the Bradley Lake hydro facility on the Railbelt. If the expansion had been operational in 2017 it would have added less than 1% to total statewide renewable generation. Assuming the current level of renewable energy projects being brought on line, it would take more than 100 years to reach the 50% goal.
Increasing the percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources has been achieved by the following action items under way:
1) Local, regional and statewide energy planning efforts, including the Alaska Affordable Energy Strategy, that emphasize the need for data-driven decision making and use of most cost effective, locally available resources;
2) Renewable Energy Fund projects;
3) Additional state appropriations for renewable energy projects;
4) Power Project Loan Fund support of renewable energy projects;
5) Recapitalization of the Power Project Loan Fund to support additional projects;
6) Private capital in conjunction with Renewable Energy Fund grant money
7) Federal funding of renewable energy projects, including Denali Commission, Department of Energy and USDA;
8) Energy efficiency and conservation programs such as AEA’s Village Energy Efficiency Program (VEEP), Alaska Commercial Building Energy Audit Program, and public education and outreach activities that lower overall energy consumption, thereby increasing the percentage of power that is generated by renewables.
|A3: Core Service - Strong Communities|
Target #1: Reduce the number of communities (public entities) that are noncompliant with management sustainability indicators by five percent each year.
Analysis of results and challenges: Public services are critical to the health and long-term viability of communities. A local government’s ability to provide adequate and sustainable public services can be accurately predicted by examining essential management indicators. DCRA gathers public entity data used by staff to conduct service assessments necessary to understand the existing level of governance and to provide any assistance necessary to them. In FY2009, the division began measuring compliance of a set number of entities using a standardized set of indicators. These indicators and compliance standards are:
1. Workers’ Compensation policy – If an entity has an active policy or not.
2. Municipal elections – If the required election was properly held and certified.
3. Financial Audits – If the required state or federal financial audits have been completed and filed.
4. Liens - If liens or judgments are filed against the entity.
5. PERS Debt - If an entity is current on their PERS payments.
6. Fuel Loans - If an entity borrowed loans for purchase of fuel and is current on its payment; and
7. Financial Documents (budgets, audits/certified financial statements) – if an entity has completed and filed these documents.
The number of non-compliant entities has increased in FY2018. Reduced resources to work with communities, accuracy of data, timeliness of information reported by agencies, community resources, and commitment to issue resolution continue to be challenges. Most indicators will require the entity to make a change in procedures, policies, and or staffing to rectify issues.
Target #2: Increase the number of users trained on the Utility Management training courses.
Analysis of results and challenges: Eight 32-hour utility management courses were developed to build local capacity for operations and maintenance of local infrastructure. These courses are approved by the University of Alaska for credit and often are presented in conjunction with regional health corporations and other regional entities. In FY2017, Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) staff presented nine classes in four different regional hubs and trained 153 utility management managers and staff. Challenges to providing more training include difficulty in scheduling more classes when sufficient numbers of participants can attend and reduced available funding for training venues and participant travel.
|A4: Core Service - Consumer Protection|
Target #1: 100 percent of tariff matters are reviewed and processed within regulatory timelines.
Analysis of results and challenges: The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) reviews tariff filings for each regulated utility and pipeline carrier. A tariff controls the conduct of business by utilities and pipeline carriers. If review of a tariff filing is not completed within the established timeline, the requested change in rules, rates, or procedure automatically goes into effect by force of law. In FY2018, 333 tariff filings that required RCA review were processed. One tariff filing went into effect without the RCA processing the filing within its regulatory timeline.
Target #2: Manage licensure of Alaska businesses and professionals.
Analysis of results and challenges: Alaska benefits by increasing the number of companies and availability of competent, qualified practitioners doing business in the state. A variety of contributing factors can often cause the number of licensees to fluctuate, such as changes in competency requirements, fees, demand for the profession, economic climate, etc.
In an ongoing effort to refine its processes and more accurately represent its functions, the division improved its method of calculating the number of professional licensees. Beginning in FY2012, the new method implemented includes all license activity over the course of a fiscal year and is one of the reasons the number of professional licensees increased from FY2011. In previous years, professional license numbers were calculated as a “snapshot” of one day—usually the last day of the fiscal year. Beginning in FY2017, a few additional existing transaction types totaling 3,386 licenses, exemptions, or practice plans were included in the license count to better reflect the volume of licensing activity occurring within the division.
Target #3: Charter, license or register entities and persons in regulated financial services industries.
Analysis of results and challenges: The strong national economy continues to drive growth in registrations and licensing. On-going changes in financial technology including internet applications and the use of cryptocurrencies, coupled with new business models that move aspects of the operations offshore continue to put pressure on the division’s ability to stay current with examination standards, take timely and appropriate enforcement actions, or provide consumer education to meet the agency’s mission. Passage of updated laws will allow the division to further streamline regulatory activities and leverage national electronic filing registries and multi-jurisdiction examination and enforcement resources.
Current as of December 26, 2018