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Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 8:31pm

Savannah Says No To Ga. Power Rate Hike

The state Public Service Commission heard a resounding message against Georgia Power rate increases last night.

About a hundred residents showed up for a public hearing related to a billion dollar rate increase request.

Savannah residents waited in a long line to take their turns excoriating the utility for their request to hike rates by over $10 a month for the average customer.

Juanita Fischer had a typical comment.

"Electricity is not a luxury," Fischer said. "And when you have to choose between paying your bill and food, the fees? They're never ending!"

Others said the rate hike request was ill-timed, coming when many are short of work and after other recently-approved rate increases.

William Cooper of Savannah said, Georgia Power is only interested in increasing shareholder profits.

"In times like this, they ought to look long and hard before they give a rate increase," Cooper said. "They just had two increases this year. A third is just unnerving. I can't believe it."

Others made a business case against the company, saying Georgia Power isn't hard up and doesn't need the revenue.

Several teachers rose to say that they, however, were hard up and couldn't afford bigger electric bills.

That prompted Commissioner Doug Everett to say that his decision would be motivated less by their stories than by "facts and numbers."

Everett told reporters after the meeting, "It was kind of amusing to hear from the teacher organizations who spoke tonight when the teacher organizations are probably the biggest people who would be hurt if they didn't get one because of the fact that they invest in Georgia Power stock."

The elected PSC will decide the rate case after two more public hearings.

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