Atlanta Gas Light wants to raise its customers’ gas bills by about three dollars come this fall.
The Public Service Commission is reviewing the $54 million request.
AGL says the recession has hurt its business, and even though it has outsourced work and cut staff, it needs the hike to maintain services.
“We have very aggressively tried to cuts costs, but the combination of loss of customers and an increasing cost basis has required us to file for a rate case adjustment," says Director of Regulatory Affairs David Weaver.
Weaver says AGL has lost 16,000 customers over the last two years.
PSC Commissioner Bobby Baker says that doesn’t sound so bad.
"The customer base is 1.5 million customers and since we’ve gone through this historical, the greatest recession since the Great Depression and for the company to lose only 1 percent of their customers, that’s phenomenal," says Baker. "That to me is great."
Baker says the PSC will review the company’s finances to determine whether the increase is fair.
Consumer advocates say the PSC already allowed AGL to increase rates last fall when it extended a $400 million surcharge.
"“The Public Service Commission just granted AGL a rate increase," says Will Phillips with the AARP, "and it came in the form of a surcharge on customer bills that will amount to several hundred million dollars that they will be paying for the next thirteen years or so.”
The next hearing is in August. The PSC will make their decision in November.