Candidate Profile: Robert Shefchik runs for Interior Gas Utility Board

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:51 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Robert Shefchik is running for Seat B on the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility (IGU) Board of Directors.

He said he is running because he’s committed to Fairbanks. “I think that low-cost energy and clean energy is going to be required for the future of our community, and for us to be successful,” Shefchik said, “and I think that IGU has done a great job merging with FNG (Fairbanks Natural Gas) to get a foothold as a public utility, and now it’s time to look at how can it expand, and I think I can help that.”

Shefchik has served on the IGU Board in the past. “I was part of the initial board appointed by Mayor (Luke) Hopkins and spent time on the board, and, really, have followed it ever since.”

He continued by saying, “I’ve got a mix of skills and experience that match what IGU is doing. My background is finance and public finance and operations, so my understanding of how the pieces fit together is pretty solid. I’ve worked for boards, I’ve worked on boards, and I understand the relationship. You need to know enough about it that you can make qualified judgments, but not so much, or drill so deep that you’re in the way of the people who are really responsible for doing it.”

Shefchik said a low-cost, clean-burning alternative will help Fairbanks succeed. “I would say, across the next three years, that IGU is going to be facing a lot of choices, both in how can you extend access to the people who are currently near pipe - that that’ll be the first chore, is how do you get that, and how do you fairly balance between residential users who only use a little, and commercial users who use a lot, and then allow you to serve fewer residential users? That’s going to be the first thing.”

Referring to his second point, Shefchik continued, “And then how and when does one expand into the more difficult areas where there is no pipe right now, and how will demand do that so that you’re balancing the needs of the current rate payers against the prospective needs against the new customers who would like to come online?”

Shefchik is running unopposed in the municipal elections on October 5th.

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