ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline) - New Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty announced a settlement on Wednesday with Fairbanks Sewer and Water Inc., resolving a series of three utility rate cases from as far back as 2005.

The settlement, which will not affect current sewer and water rates in the Fairbanks area, resolves the issue of how much of the 2005 to 2009 interim rates FSW charged must be refunded to customers of College Utilities Corporation and Golden Heart Utilities.

Under the terms of the settlement, FSW must refund $4.47 million in principal and interest to customers in the Fairbanks area. The settlement amount is based on pro-rata usage amounts during the years those rates were in effect.

The agreement resolves two superior court appeals, in addition to ongoing proceedings before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska for the rate cases. If the RCA approves the settlement, the agreement states that refunds will be sent to consumers within 90 days of the court issuing an order that allows for the disbursal of money that had previously been put in escrow for that purpose.

Geraghty's office, which represents the public interest in rate cases, said that the settlement benefits the public by bringing closure and finality to the contentious litigation and by allowing refunds to be issued.

"The utilities have worked closely with the attorney general's office to resolve these cases and we will continue to focus on and look to the future," said Oran Paul, the chief operating officer of the utilities. "We are committed to providing Fairbanks with excellent customer and utility service."

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