Columbus against Georgia Power solar tariff

Getting an earful across the state about that proposed solar rate hike: Georgia Power and the Georgia Public Service Commission, first in Savannah, then in Columbus.

Mike Owen wrote for the Ledger-Enquirer 21 October 2013, Georgia Public Service Commission: Public decries Georgia Power rate hike, solar power fee,

A crowd of about 50 people gave Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman Chuck Eaton an earful Monday night concerning a proposed Georgia Power rate hike and controversial proposal to charge solar power users a new fee.

At a public hearing in the auditorium of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Eaton heard several audience members call the rate hike “bad business practice” and “unconscionable,” while calling the solar proposal “a step backward” and a “disincentive” for modern, clean technology.

At issue is a two-pronged proposal before the PSC. Georgia Power is asking the commissioners to approve a $482 million rate hike that would add almost $100 a year to average residential electric bills, said Seth Gunning, an organizer for the Sierra Club of Georgia, one of the meeting’s sponsors. It [Georgia Power] is also asking the PSC to allow it to levy a fee on those who install solar panels on their homes or businesses.

The story continues with quotes from local people who object to those proposed rate hikes.

Nobody from Georgia Power was there, but one Public Service Commissioner, Chuck Eaton, was:

Eaton addressed the audience by first stressing that he has not yet decided how he will vote on any aspect of Georgia Power’s proposal.

While no representative of Georgia Power was present, Eaton explained the company’s rationale for levying the fee of solar power users.

“They’ve proposed that if you have solar panels that you would pay a surcharge,” he explained. “You would be using them only as a backup, but you would still have to have access to electricity.”

Eaton said a large percentage of electric bills pay for maintenance on electrical infrastructure.

“Those assets have to be available to you, so you should have to pay for it,” Eaton said, again stressing that that is the utility’s position, not his.

“It seems to me that this is asking the commission to take a step backwards,” said Mary Drake of Columbus.

Indeed, a step backwards based on bs Austin Energy already disproved. Charging solar generators to connect was a bad idea when Dominion Power did it in Virginia and it’s a worse idea now that Austin Energy has done that study and demonstrated that electric utilities should pay their solar-generating customers more, because of savings on line use, less need for new power plants, and other benefits the utility receives.

Dear GA PSC: stop acting as a PR firm for Georgia Power, and vote no on both of Georgia Power’s rate hikes.

-jsq

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