Atlanta Gas Light customers will see a new surcharge on their gas bills next month.
The Public Service Commission voted to allow the company to charge upfront to upgrade and expand its infrastructure.
In a 4–1 vote, the PSC cleared the first phase of Atlanta Gas Light's gas line expansion around the city of Atlanta.
Statewide, 1.4 million customers will pay $0.39 more next month for the next year. Then the surcharge will go up to $0.78 in 2011 and to more than $1.00 after that.
Originally, Atlanta Gas Light wanted to let businesses bear the bigger brunt of the upgrade, but with changes proposed by Commissioner Lauren McDonald, they’ll be paying the same amount as residents.
"Why should businesses pay more?" asks McDonald. "We put the businesses out of business and their employees go home, they're the residentials (sic) and they don't have a job... It's a sad situation."
The sole commissioner who opposed the rule, Robert Baker, called the decision unfair.
"In this particular case, it doesn't matter if you're a small resident who uses only ten therms a month, you're going to be paying the exact same amount as a bigger industrial customer down the street that uses 100,000 therms a month," Baker says.
This marks the first time customers will pay for expanding gas infrastructure up front.