Atlanta Gas Light wants its 1.5 million customers across the state to foot the bill to expand gas service into a resort community in Middle Georgia. It’s asking the Public Service Commission to approve the project.
AGL wants to run a new pipe from Milledgeville to Green County which would serve Reynold's Plantation near Lake Oconee.
The company says it would cost $25 million, but Commissioner Bobby Baker says it’s more like $80 million after financing costs, and the numbers show the project won’t benefit existing customers even though they would have to pay for it.
"It doesn’t make any financial sense. Anybody with any common sense and the ability to add and subtract and read a financial spreadsheet can see it doesn’t add up," says Baker.
AGL disputes that and says it will present more information to the PSC staff before the commission’s vote in two weeks.
"They were working with limited data,” says AGL’s director of regulatory affairs David Weaver, “and they misinterpreted data that was provided to them so commissioners didn’t have a full and fair analysis for the economic viability of the Green County project.”
Weaver says adding new customers will reduce gas prices for everyone.
Traditionally, AGL had to shoulder the financial risk of expansion projects, but under a new economic development program, current customers pay a 39 cent surcharge each month to help fund projects approved by the commission.
That surcharge is set to double in October.