Public Service Commission election could impact your Georgia Power rates

The cooling towers, right, and nuclear reactor containment buildings, left, at Plant Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant are shown in Waynesboro, Ga. Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Two Georgia Public Service Commission seats are on primary ballots this May.

Even if you don’t see these as the marquee races, the candidates who end up serving in these roles can end up having a direct effect on Georgians’ household budgets.

WABE’s Molly Samuel joined “All Things Considered to give a Civics 101 on the Public Service Comission (PSC) and what’s at stake on your ballot. Right now, all five commissioners are Republicans. Two are up for reelection.

“The commission regulates landline telephones, natural gas companies, and they also regulate Georgia Power,” Samuel said.

Regulating Georgia Power means they have a direct say over monthly rates. They also regulate where that power comes from.

“Georgia Power is proposing to phase out all of its coal and boost renewables, and so they’re weighing those options,” Samuel said.

“The PSC also regulates the construction at Plant Vogtle, which is the only nuclear power construction project in the country,” Samuel said.

The commissioners also have oversight on spending at Plant Vogtle. But chronic delays have upped the price tag from 14 billion dollars originally, to more than 30 billion.

“Georgia Power customers may not realize this, but they’re already paying some of the costs on their monthly bills,” Samuel said.

“Electric bills will go up even more to pay for Vogtle once the reactors go into service, and that’s projected to be next year. The PSC does have oversight on which of those costs get passed onto customers.”

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.