Georgia Power clashes with regulators over proposed rate hike

In this May 6, 2009 file photo, Watt-hour meters track electricity used by residents in St. Marys, Pa. In Georgia, utility regulators are considering a steep rate hike for Georgia Power customers. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

State regulators are considering whether to raise power rates on Georgia Power customers – in part to increase profits for the company’s shareholders.

The rate hike would increase the typical household’s bill by about 14 dollars a month.

Emily Jones joined WABE’s “All Things Considered” to talk about state commission hearings currently considering the rate increase.

According to Jones, Georgia’s largest utility is again making the case for increasing the return on equity for its shareholders. Georgia Power is also running into conflict with the commission about the billing system for a popular rooftop solar program.

“We’re talking about Georgia Power here, we’re not talking about the average utility,” said Aaron Abramowitz of Georgia Power in response to Public Service Commission staff pointing out that the amount the company wants is above the industry average.

The utility argues it’s not fair to compare Georgia Power to different utilities in other states.

Officials also said that what’s best for shareholders is what’s best for customers – an idea commission staff refuted.

The commission’s final decisions are due next month, and the new rates will kick in on January 1.