Streetlights and Georgia Power @ Hahira 2012-10-01

To get a decent deal on streetlights, a small Georgia city may have to help change the Georgia Public Service Commission. Or, an energy concern in Hahira happened to coincide with a visit by PSC candidate Steve Oppenheimer.

Ralph Clendenin, City Council member, is looking into converting Hahira's streetlights to LEDs or maybe solar. He has discussed that with Georgia Power, which will do it for $250,000 up front. At a savings of $1,000 a month, that would take quite a while to pay back: more than 20 years.

Steve Oppenheimer, running for Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), found the streetlight issue interesting:

Just like you're looking at options the city might do for better choices for lighting in terms of serving the people and meeting your budget, as Georgians we need that, too.

He indicated that there are more solutions than we're being told.

To me what's improtant are homeowners rights, and we get control over the power rates, because our residential rates and small business rates have gone up about 31% in five years.

He brought up Dublin's solar streetlights, and solar for energy and jobs. He indicated energy was a future source of jobs.

What it comes down to is people like you in this room in the small communities figuring out what pieces do we put together to make our community better for tomorrow.

Afterwards in the entranceway, Ralph Clendenin showed Steve Oppenheimer how he'd figured out that Georgia Power was charging about 73% maintenance above the electricity cost of the streetlights. Oppenheimer said there were many options. Clendenin suggested one:

The option I see right now is, the Commission somehow, has got to change the rules on how Georgia Power… structures payments.

Oppenheimer suggested a way to get there:

We need a commission with some new leadership, with some separation from industry, that doesn't have the apparent conflicts of interest.

Ralph summed it up pithily:

Ralph Clendenin: 73% is that forever payment to Georgia Power.

Steve Oppenheimer: It's a great deal, if you're on the right end of it.

What say we change the end of the stick we the taxpayers are getting from the PSC?

Here's a playlist.

Work Session, Hahira City Council, Hahira, Lowndes County, Georgia, 1 October 2012.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).