October Back Page – Living Through a Pandemic

Posted: October 14, 2020

It hardly seems possible that it was eight months ago that we first heard about the new coronavirus disease that was starting to claim victims in the Lower-48. That was in mid-February. Late that month I went to a major utility conference out of state. I returned March 5, and that was the last time I was in an airport or on a plane. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and Gov. Mike Dunleavy followed suit by declaring a health disaster. We immediately shut down our offices to the
public and began equipping our employees to work from home.

Within a few days, many major events around the state were canceled or postponed and we were
forced to do the same with our Annual Meeting, planned for April 8. Schools that had been on spring
break extended that break by a week and never did reopen. Parents and grandparents are essentially
home-schooling their kids and I hear that some of these new teachers are getting poor grades from
their students!

AVEC immediately instituted a moratorium on disconnections for non-pay that was extended
through the end of April. We continue to offer special deferral arrangements for members who are
experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. In the meantime, Congress has stepped in
with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which sent one-time cash
payments to most Americans as well as $340 billion to state and local governments.

Most tribes and local governments have received a portion of this relief money and are now
allocating it to members of their community to assist with their needs. AVEC has been receiving
payments from communities with credits to be applied to their members’ electric accounts. We have
already received funds from Alakanuk Traditional Council, Atmautluak Tradtional Council, Chevak
Traditional Council, Native Village of Eek, City of Elim, Emmonak Tribal Council, Native Village
of Goodnews Bay, Kasigluk Traditional Council, Kivalina IRA, City of Kobuk, Organized Village of
Kwethluk, Native Village of Kwinhagak, Village of Lower Kalskag, City of Marshall, Native Village of
Mekoryuk, Asa’Carsarmiut (Mt. Village) Tribal Council, Napaskiak Tribal Council, New Stuyahok
Traditional Council, Ukumiut (Nightmute) Tribal Council, Native Village of Noatak, Nunapitchuk
IRA, Oscarville Traditional Council, Iqugmiut (Russian Mission) Traditional Council, Aigaaciq (St.
Mary’s) Tribal Government, Selawik IRA Council, City of Shaktoolik, Native Village of Shungnak,
Stebbins Community Association, Nunakauyak (Toksook Bay) Traditional Council, Native village of
Tununak, Tuntutuliak Traditional Council, and the City of Wales.

We are working with several other cities and tribes as they consider how to disburse funds to their
members so if you do not see your tribe or City in the above list, consider reaching out to them to
see if they will be helping you with your electric bill this year.