By Dave Mewborn, SRK Outreach Coordinator
On December 4, 2019, the Georgia Public Service Commission will vote on whether or not Georgia Power can raise their fixed monthly fee and user rates.
In the next 3 years, Georgia Power wants to increase its monthly fixed rate from $10/month in 2019 to $17.95/month by 2022 and increase usage rates cents/kWh (cents per kilowatt-hour) 6.7 cents currently to 7.5 cents by 2022. Georgia Power can request rate increases every three years. In Georgia, elderly and marginalized citizens in low-income communities, and communities of color often bear the heaviest burden of energy costs, losing up to three times more of their income to energy bills than higher-income households.
Savannah Riverkeeper believes in access to affordable, clean energy for everyone. Georgia Power’s proposed rate increases raise several questions: What will happen to fossil fuel facilities like Plant McIntosh in Rincon, GA? When will it be closed completely, and what care will be given to the overseeing of this plant’s closure, ethically and environmentally? Who is paying for the cleanups and disposal of the coal ash from plants in Georgia, and will it be stored safely in lined facilities where it is unlikely to pose a risk to people and waterways?
About a hundred citizens attended the Coastal Listening Session in Savannah on October 16, it was evident that the people of Savannah-Chatham County see no good reason for the price hike. They question how sincere Georgia Power is in promises to move away from fossil fuels, and how much research and resources are being put towards greener, cleaner forms of energy. Concerned about the dangers of nuclear power, many citizens hope for a near future in which alternatives like wind and solar become our primary sources of energy. Both commissioners in attendance from District 2 (Tim Echols) and District 5 (Tricia Pridemore) were eager to point out available programs to assist qualified customers, like seniors with fixed income and lower-income households, in lowering and helping to pay their energy bills.
Written public comments are not being accepted, but you can choose to speak at a hearing. Two important PSC public hearings where you can voice your opinion on this matter are set for November 4 and November 25 at 8:00 am at 244 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, GA.
If you cannot make it to Atlanta on those days, you can contact your representatives at the Public Service Commission with questions, concerns, and comments. If you email them, make sure to include “For Official Use: Georgia Power Rate Increase” in the subject. Representative from District 2 Tim Echols assures us that these will be read and addressed at the public hearings. PSC votes on this issue on December 4, 2019.
District 1 Jason Shaw firstname.lastname@example.org 404-463-6745
District 2 Tim Echols email@example.com 404-463-0214
District 3 Chuck Eaton firstname.lastname@example.org 404-657-2020
District 4 Bubba McDonald Lmcdonald@psc.state.ga.us 404-463-4260
District 5 Tricia Pridemore email@example.com 404-657-4574
For more info and to sign up to speak at a public meeting, visit our friends at www.fighthehike.org or sign the Harambee House petition by clicking here.