WG&L changes billing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

WG&L changes billing

Albany-- You won't be paying more over the course of a year, but your bills this spring and summer will be higher than last year. And small businesses may feel the biggest shock when they see these new rates for electricity and water starting next month.

Electricity keeps Matt Divine's business running. "75% of these motorbikes run on electricity. All the batteries have to be charged. All the service work I do uses electricity."

Matt's Motorbikes, like many small businesses, operates on a tight budget. So news that Water, Gas, and Light is upping utility costs for smaller businesses hit hard. "Advertising costs are high, insurance is phenomenally high, we have lots of cost that residential people don't have. We need all the help we can get, we don't need something like this," said Divine.

Water, Gas, and Light Financial Officer John Vansant says small businesses have been undercharged for years, while major industries have been overcharged. "They're using electricity when it cost the most. Their rates were too low," said Vansant.

The new rate system will change that. "All we're doing is redistributing the way we're bill people on a more equitable basis. When you're using electricity at a more expensive time, you're going to have to pay more."

And residential customers will pay more too, at least part of the year. "Electricity is more expensive in the summertime. We have redesigned the rates to charge them extra in the summer and decrease that in the winter." Your summertime rates will be about 5 to 10 percent higher than last year, but come winter you'll get the same rate break.

WG&L chairman Willie Adams voted against the rate changes and suggested a flat fee for commercial and residential customers. "If you know that every month you're going to have to pay $200, you can predict your budget." WG&L is working on a flat fee system to utilize by fall but for now, small businesses and residents should prepare for higher bills this summer.

WG&L says their rates will still be lower than Georgia Power rates.