Low water levels may cause WG&L bills to get higher - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Low water levels may cause WG&L bills to get higher

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February 11, 2008

Albany --The banks of the Flint River show water levels are still below normal. But South Georgians really haven't been hit by the state's drought.

"I think our general mentality is that it's not going to happen to us, but I think its a very distinct possibility," said Julian Rouse. But it's because of the drought that Water Gas and Light's budget is currently in the red.

"The first six months of the fiscal year. We are down about one point eight million dollars. A big part of that is our South Eastern Power Administration electricity that we get from the federal government," said Fiscal Affairs Director, John Vansant III.

SEPA generates electricity using hydro power.

"The lake levels have been so low that they can't let water through the dams to make electricity. When that happens they go and buy replacement energy for us to buy. And that replacement energy is a lot more expensive," said Vansant.

The drought caused the price that they normally pay SEPA to go up about one million dollars. And it may soon hit South Georgians in their utility bills, but as of now this shouldn't effect customers costs.

"We are due a refund from MEAG of about one point nine million dollars," said Vansant. This money will cover the present deficit. "That is pretty much a wash. If we stay on budget through the rest of the year," said Vansant.

But if this drought continues, Water Gas and Light utility bills will get higher.

Water Gas and Light is currently working on a plan for next year's budget to off set any costs brought on if this drought continues.