Video of citizens in Athens opposing Georgia Power solar tax

Another city, more citizens opposed to Georgia Power’s solar tax, and to Georgia Power’s rate hikes for fossil fuels and nukes.

Seth Gunning of Georgia Sierra Clug Hyacinth Manacap Empinado wrote for Athens Patch today, “No” To Rate Hike for Georgia Power, Say Residents at Athens Meeting: People urged Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols to vote against the Georgia Power rate hike request.,

Tim Echols GA PSC and Seth Gunning GA Sierra Club Echols says that part of the money will be used to clean up older coal plants and convert some plants to burn cleaner, natural gas.

If approved, the hikes will take effect in 2014.

Liz Coyle of Georgia Watch Basil Campbell, Athens resident and a Georgia Power customer, told Echols to refuse the rate increase and the solar tariff.

“It is the responsibility of the commissioners to ensure that the health and welfare of the people is not overlooked in the name of profit,” Campbell said.

Athens citizen A opposing solar tax A few wondered why solar power was singled out among other ways of reducing demand from the Georgia Power grid.

“Why only solar panels?” asked Roger Hilten. “It seems very arbitrary to choose that over some other kind of technology. “

Well, we know why: because as electric utility think tank Edison Electric reported earlier this year, distributed rooftop solar power is a disruptive development that will burn the utilities’ cozy century-old baseload capacity business model.

Who do the Public Service Commissioners represent? The public, or Georgia Power’s 11% guaranteed profit?

Athens citizen B opposing solar tax Sara Black, an anthropology and ecology junior, urged the Public Service Commission not to allow Georgia Power to recoup costs in advance of their coal-fired plants going online.

“While I believe those improvements are necessary and I believe that the public should be investing in those improvements if they are necessary, I think that advanced cost recovery leaves a vacancy of accountability for how that money is being used,” Black said.

Ross Pringle believes that imposing fees on solar power while rate-payers subsidize coal is the wrong way to go.

“We shouldn’t tax something that’s positive like solar power and then subsidize negative which is dirty coal,” Pringle said.

Tony Di Pietro, a military veteran and law enforcement officer, said boils it down to a matter of personal choice.

“The stuff that I have done all my life is to preserve our right to have a choice,” Di Pietro says. “We do not have a choice with more monopoly of Georgia power and them trying to charge a tariff if you would like to put solar power in your own house.”

He adds that in many other states utility companies will gladly purchase excess power from customers.

“Now they want to sit here and tell us we have to pay them and use it,” he says. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to use it. It’s supposed to be a free country.”

Yay Hyacinth Empinado for videoing the meeting and putting it on YouTube yesterday, where she wrote:

The Sierra Club and Georgia Watch hosted a town hall meeting in Athens with Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols to hear citizens’ thoughts on the proposed Georgia Power rate hike.

In Gainesville, Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols said he would take citizens concerns back to the PSC. In Athens, he said:

“Every citizen that I have heard from opposes a rate increase,” said Echols, the only public service commissioner in the meeting. “The decision, however, is far more complex than just adding up responses. We approve the power company’s return on equity and their revenue requirements per Georgia law, and those calculations determine the financial health of the company.”

The Georgia Public Service Commissioners will vote on the proposed rate hike on Dec. 7.

Oh, yeah, far more complex than representing the people who elected the PSC. Got to factor in those massive utility campaign contributions. Or do what you did so recently, GA PSC, when you doubled the amount of solar power Georgia Power has to buy: vote for the people, not the plutocrats.

Here’s the video:

Video of citizens in Athens opposing Georgia Power solar tax
Video by Hyacinth Empinado, Athens, Clarke County, Georgia.


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