It’s October and that means yet another set of rate increases are imminent at the Georgia PSC. I went to the public comment period to speak out against these proposals.
GA Power filed an enormous $2.9 billion revenue increase request in June which means 12% higher bills for you beginning in 2023 if approved. The Ga Public Service Commission held the first set of hearings in late September.
I asked for two things at the hearings:
We already pay some of the highest electricity bills in the nation.
Disallow rate increase
First, the PSC should disallow this rate increase. It’s going to raise our bills 12% in 2023 & 2024, the same years that Plant Vogtle’s Unit 3 and 4 are expected to come online and will raise bills another 13% – at least. Our bills just went up 11% from the 2019 rate increase. AND there is a gas fuel surcharge of over $1 billion dollars that will hit in 2023 as well.
Why does that matter? Almost 20,000 Ga Power customers are disconnected every month for failure to pay. People are already struggling.
If this is allowed, Ga Power consumers will experience an enormous 40% rate increase in total over this 3 year span. Georgia is already 8th highest in the nation for residential electric bills from past decisions the PSC has made. Yet the PSC wants to increase our bills even more?
There are at least 10 opportunities to reduce high power bills that are routinely made in other states, but are skipped by the Ga Public Service Commission.
Also, the ROE Ga Power is asking for of 11% is shameful. It was shameful in 2019 when you gave them 10.5% ROE instead of 9.5 like all other regulated utilities in the US. That 1% you authorized gives Ga Power an extra $480 million every year. And Ga Power earns more than 10.5% due to an record-setting rich earnings band you allowed in 2019.
Repeal “Smart Usage”
Next, the PSC should repeal the predatory and falsely named “Smart Usage” rate plan. It is now actively harming people in small dwellings just as I said it would in 2019. You can see my previous blog post here.
I have 15 Smart Usage bills from Ga Power customers who paid 50 to 100% more than if they had been on the traditional plan. One woman even paid 120% more.
Just look at this bill! The fact that the PSC did not require a customer impact study for this is unconscionable. This is what they would have paid on the traditional rate plan for the same usage according to the bill calculator on the PSC website.
People have no idea they are paying a demand fee because it’s hidden from the bill – yet Commissioner Echols told me people can shift their behavior to reduce that demand fee. How can they do that when they can’t see the demand fee, don’t understand the demand fee, and don’t know when it occurred? This could not be more wrong.
The PSC should do better.
Why is this happening? Georgia Power needs enormous amounts of cash flow to service costs for the foundering Plant Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, which is billions of dollars over budget. More details on that, and on my Day 2 comments, in Part 2 coming tomorrow.
Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts. Thanks for being a supporter.