by Grace Wyler
11/21/13 — These days Barry Goldwater, Jr. is on an unlikely crusade. In March, the former California Republican congressman founded Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed, or TUSK, after Arizona’s largest electric utility proposed a hefty new fee on solar customers and a plan to lower net metering rates, which dictate how much electric utilities pay solar customers for excess energy sold back to the grid. “Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice,” Goldwater said in a statement on TUSK’s website. So he cobbled together a ragtag coalition of libertarian-minded conservatives, solar industry advocates, and business groups to wage a colorful guerrilla campaign. In the past few months, TUSK has run ads attacking the electric utility on conservative talk radio and the Drudge Report. They’ve posted clever YouTube videos, including a song parody sung to the tune of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “They Totally Think We’re Not Smart.”
Read the whole article: New Republic
by Ray Henry
ATLANTA (AP) 11/18/13 — Georgia Power would accept a lower return on shareholder investments and ditch a proposal to charge special rates for rooftop solar power under a preliminary agreement reached Monday.
The Southern Co. subsidiary reached a tentative deal with Georgia utility regulators to set its rates through 2016. It would reduce the value of the rate increases sought by the utility by more than $500 million over a three-year period, according to regulatory filings. The agreement must still be approved by the elected members of the Public Service Commission, though they typically ratify such deals.
Utility shareholders who invest money in the electrical grid would get a lower return on their investments. The return would drop to 10.95 percent from the current 11.15 percent. Georgia Power originally wanted an 11.5 percent return on its shareholder investments.
Read the whole article: Houston Chronicle
by Gloria Tatum
(APN) ATLANTA 11/18/13 — The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has finished months of public and expert testimony on Georgia Power’s request for a 482 million dollar rate increase and an increase in the company’s guaranteed profit from 11.15 percent to 11.50 percent.
Georgia Power is also asking for a surcharge of $5.56 per kilowatt on self-generated power from solar panels, plus a solar tariff, on customers who install solar panels after January 01, 2014.
The PSC is expected to consider the requests at its December 17, 2013, administrative session.
If approved, the 482 million dollar rate hike would add nearly eight dollars per month to the average residential bill. The solar tax is another 22 dollars for residential customer and commercial solar systems who add solar after January 01.
According to Georgia Watch, this is on top of Georgia Power increases since 2003 that have added over 44 dollars per month to household electric bills.
Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News
by Christopher Martin
11/12/13 — Here’s a riddle to vex the Washington political class: When do Tea Party Republicans stand together with Sierra Club environmentalists?
The answer is on their support for solar energy against the monopoly power of traditional utilities in some of the most conservative U.S. states.
A Georgia splinter group known as the Green Tea Coalition, which is part of the broader anti-big-government movement, is reviving the Republican link with the Sierra Club that dates back more than a century to President Theodore Roosevelt’s work to protect the environment. Its influence is being felt in other states, from Arizona in the West to North Carolina on the East Coast.
Read the whole article: Bloomberg News
by Jessica Leigh Lebos
SAVANNAH 10/30/13 – If Georgia Power has its way, consumers will pay an average of $8 more a month on their electric bills come January.
The state’s largest utility company has petitioned state regulators for permission to raise rates by 6.1 percent — a proposed $482 million — as well as to levy a substantial monthly fee for solar power users. Also included in the 2013 Rate Case is an increase in Georgia Power’s guaranteed profit from 11.15 percent to 11.5 percent, representing tens of millions of dollars for the company.
The proposal has drawn ire from activists, who have organized a series of town hall meetings around the state to educate the public on what they say is an egregious request.
Read the whole article: Connect Savannah
by Nick Coltraine
ATHENS 10/30/13 – A proposed tariff on solar energy generators, Plant Vogtle and an overall price increase proposed by Georgia Power dominated a discussion with Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols on Wednesday.
The town hall at the University of Georgia Chapel, organized by the Sierra Club and consumer advocates with Georgia Watch, burst into applause after impassioned speeches from attendants about clean energy, climate change and fighting against “King Georgia Power,” as one attendee called the state utility.
Read the whole article: OnLineAthens
by Mark Eggers
GAINESVILLE 10/29/13 – Georgia Public Service Commission member Tim Echols addressed the audience Tuesday evening in the Brenau Downtown Center, saying, “There’s really no perfect form of energy out there, even solar has its issues.”
Echols and fellow Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald had traveled from Atlanta to hear the opinions and suggestions of consumers in northeast Georgia at an open town-meeting sponsored by consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch and environmental organization, the Sierra Club.
Tonight’s meeting, being the third of four across the state, was organized because Georgia Power has requested permission to raise their power rates by $478 million at year’s end. They need the Public Service Commission’s consent to do so as the utility operates under the Commission’s aegis. The Commission wants consumer input.
Read the whole article: AccessNorthGA.com
COLUMBUS 10/24/13 – Americans have long harbored the suspicion that major energy providers do everything in their power (so to speak) to discourage and suppress alternative energy sources that would cut into their profits.
If that familiar notion is just unfair and unfounded consumer paranoia, Georgia Power Company is doing nothing to dispel it and much to perpetuate it.
As part of a $482 million rate increase request, Georgia Power would charge (so to speak) an additional monthly fee of $5.56 to customers who install solar panels on their properties.
Read the whole article: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
By Mary Landers
SAVANNAH 10/17/13 – “Unconscionable” and “theft” were two of the words used Thursday evening to describe a residential rate hike and fee on solar installations proposed by Georgia Power.
More than 50 people attended a meeting sponsored by Georgia Watch and the Sierra Club at the Coastal Georgia Center to discuss the issues.
The rate hike, proposed in July, would have average residential customers paying almost $8 more a month. Some homeowners with solar panels would pay a new monthly fee of about $22 by Georgia Power’s estimations.
Read the whole article: Connect Savannah
by Jonathan Shapiro
ATLANTA 10/3/13 — The state Public Service Commission held its second day of hearings on a Georgia Power request to charge residential ratepayers about $8 more per month.
Part of the request includes a new tariff on solar users, a proposal facing much scrutiny.
At Thursday’s hearing, Georgia Power Vice President of Pricing and Planning Greg Roberts acknowledged the growing demand for solar and other renewables.
“This is just where we’re headed… renewable resources have become a lot more cost effective – solar certainly, wind. I think customers are interested in putting these things on their homes or businesses for a variety of reasons and we want to help our customers do that but we want to make sure that we not only help customers that are interested, we want to help all customers.”
The company is proposing an average tariff of about $22 per month for new home solar systems that aren’t a part of Georgia Power-sponsored solar initiatives.
Read the whole article: WABE 90.1 FM