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Candidate Profile: Jack Wilbur runs for IGU Board of Directors

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:51 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Jack Wilbur is running for Seat A on the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility (IGU) Board of Directors.

He said he is running because it’s important to him, his family, and his business that Fairbanks be successful. “IGU plays an important role in Fairbanks’ long-term success, bringing a low-cost, clean-burning source of energy to Fairbanks.”

Wilbur explained, “Naturally, there’s nothing that I’m going to accomplish on my own. If elected, I’ll be part of a team, the IGU board, and IGU has already made great strides in bringing a stable and secure source of low-cost energy to our community. It’s important now to work towards a greater penetration of the available market, and that’s where I believe IGU should concentrate its efforts.”

“My recollection is that we have about a 15 percent penetration right now. The total available market is around ten thousand between Fairbanks and North Pole, and we have about 1,500 people . . . so there’s a lot of market available still,” he said.

Wilbur discussed conversion cost as an obstacle to greater household penetration of natural gas technology. “IGU is not interested in actually funding those conversions, but we are, IGU is certainly interested in facilitating that. A couple sources are the borough, through the federal government, gets money to assist with conversions. Most of that, in the past, has been conversions from wood to gas. Now we need to really concentrate on conversions of oil to gas.”

Another obstacle he discussed is the lack of access to a natural gas pipe. However, he said, “There’s still lots of people that have gas available that are not currently signed up to use gas.”

According to Wilbur, the price of natural gas is more stable than oil in the interior. “IGU has long-term contracts with Hilcorp to purchase gas at a known price, and so that’s what the price is now, that’s what the price is going to be fifteen years from now, whereas oil is going to bounce around, but the general trend is it’s going to go up, and so it’s a cost of energy that we can depend on, and people can count on, and primarily the business sector can count on. It’s really important for the business sector to be able to know what their energy costs are going to be in the long-term future, especially when you’re trying to attract new businesses to the community.”

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

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