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Friday, March 12, 2010 - 10:06am

Raised Rates for Georgia Power Customers

Georgia Power’s 2.25 million customers will see about a five dollar increase on their bills starting next month. The Public Service Commission gave the utility permission to raise rates in order to recover its fuel costs.

Georgia Power said customers owed it nearly $700 million because it wasn’t collecting enough money to pay for the coal and natural gas that fire their power plants, so in a 4-1 vote the PSC granted a rate increase averaging about $5.59 a month.

To ensure that doesn’t happen to that degree again, Commissioner Stan Wise says the PSC also gave the utility permission to raise rates higher without an initial review, if their fuel costs go higher than anticipated.

"Ultimately those costs will be reviewed in the next fuel case by the commission, but the interim fuel recovery allows the company to recover those dollars currently so the balance does not become larger," says Commissioner Wise.

Commissioner Bobby Baker voted against the interim fuel rider saying it allows the utility to avoid up-front scrutiny of their business operations.

"IFR is an easy way to slip in an increase without raising the visibility or going through any review process, letting people know what’s happening. It will be done very quietly," says Commissioner Baker.

If the rider is used, the PSC can review the company’s decision after customers have paid the money.

Commissioner Wise says the rider saves ratepayers administrative costs.

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