Georgia Power customer's bills going up -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia Power customer's bills going up

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December 20, 2007

Lee County -- Georgia Power customers are bracing for an increase to their bills. This week, the Public Service Commission approved a rate increase that will allow Georgia Power to increase revenue by more than 300 million dollars a year.

The utility says they need the extra money to pay for upgrades to the power grid and to meeting stricter environmental standards.

 Georgia Power sub-stations hum with the power that a growing South Georgia demands. The Public Service Commission approved a plan that increases Georgia Power's base rates by nearly 100 million dollars a year, to deal with the state's growth. Georgia Power Distribution Manager in Albany, Jay Smith, said "we need some more big units, and what we are looking at is nuclear. But yes, looking forward, we are going to have to build those plants to be able to supply our energy needs."

The new rate plan would also give Georgia Power money to deal with tougher environmental standards on their coal fired power plants like Plant Mitchell south of Albany, establishing an environmental recovery tariff of another 222 million dollars per year for the utility. Smith said "we feel like our plants are clean now. They are going to be cleaner. Particularly to meet the new emission standards coming up in the future."

Georgia Power asked for almost double the amount of money the PSC granted. Commissioner Angela Speir, who voted against the increase, said the new rates will provide a higher profit margin to Georgia Power than utilities in some other states.

The average bill will go up more than 5-dollars per month. If Georgia Power's earnings exceed expectations, the company will have to reduce rates.