Georgia Power customers will see their power bills increase after the state Public Service Commission voted to approve an increase in rates this week.
The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to approve a negotiated plan previously presented by the power company to generate an additional $1.77 billion from customers in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The vote was 4-1.
The Associated Press reported:
“Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of power a month will see bills rise beginning Jan. 1 by $5.89 a month, to $129.20. That will be followed by an increase of roughly half that size in 2021 and a larger increase in 2022, although Kraft said precise figures for those years weren’t immediately available.”
Georgia Power Company’s reasoning for the increase is reportedly to cover the costs associated with disposing of coal ash, rising costs for operations, and, of course, Plant Vogtle. The increase on bill is approximately 7%.
Customers will also see an increase for attaching to the grid, a previous $10 per month fee that will increase to $12 in 2021 and to $14 in 2022. The company sought to have that fee increased to $17.95 per month, but the PSC rejected that request.
Media outlets present at the meeting for the vote say that Commissioner Tim Echols argued for higher rates of return for Georgia Power because of the company’s ‘superior performance.’ In a news release from the website, Echols said:
“While not perfect, much about our energy delivery system is top-drawer. Smart meters allow instant reconnection — and many states do not have them yet. Georgia does. We have replaced all of our old cast iron and bare steel pipe underground. Many states have not. And we have prioritized a diverse energy portfolio treating the grid much like you do your 401(k). This approach helps us hedge against spikes in fuel prices or unintended consequences like we saw with the oil tanker crisis in the Middle East recently that sent gas prices soaring.”
Commissioner Bubba McDonald was ultimately the only Commissioner to vote against the increase.
The company serves approximately 2.6 million customers around Georgia.