Consumers' Utility Counsel wins debate over seasonal fuel in Georgia Power fuel cost recovery case

May 23, 2008

On Tuesday, May 20, 2008, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to approve an increase in rates for Georgia Power Company’s consumers.    As a result, the average residential consumer’s bill will increase $2.93 per month beginning June 1, 2008.  The increase will pay for forecasted fuel costs beginning June 1, 2008 through May 31, 2009.

Industrial customers argued that the Commission should implement seasonal fuel rates as opposed to the existing average fuel rate.  This would transfer millions of dollars of costs from industrial customers to Residential consumers.

The Consumers’ Utility Counsel (“CUC”), which represents residential consumers and small business owners, along with AARP, objected to the imposition of seasonal fuel rates.    An average fuel rate, as advocated by CUC and AARP, spreads the risk of fuel cost volatility and may decrease the under-recovery amount that all consumers must pay.  This would save money for all Georgia Power consumers.   Despite CUC’s arguments, Georgia Power Company and industrial customer-interest groups entered a stipulation urging the Commission to adopt a seasonal fuel rate. 

The Commission rejected the stipulation by a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Baker, Speir and Everett voting against seasonal fuel.  The Commissioners voted to approve the remaining stipulation entered into by Commission Staff and Georgia Power that recommended that seasonal fuel rates be deferred until after the seasonal working group submitted its final report to the Commission.

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