Monthly Archives: October 2013

POWER PLAY: Proposed energy rate increase and solar fee means big profits for utility, bigger bills for consumers

Save_Energy_Save_Money-262x300by 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

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Athenians attack proposed Ga. Power rate hike, solar energy tariff

23523139_SAby 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

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Georgia Power rate increase request generates sparks

owlby 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.

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GPC’s ‘solar fee’ just doesn’t pass justification test

0968cc9f2a_rooftop-solarCOLUMBUS 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

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Ga. Power proposed rate hike, solar fee blasted

By Mary Landerskaren_grainey

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

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Must-See Chart: Cost Of PV Cells Has Dropped An Amazing 99% Since 1977, Bringing Solar Power To Grid Parity

price-of-solar-power-drop-graphby Joe Romm
10/6/2013 – The price of solar photovoltaic cells has dropped 99% in the past quarter century. So in an increasing number of markets around the country, solar is at or very close to grid parity.

Consider Colorado. The Denver Business Journal reported last month the results of months-long competitive bidding process:

Xcel Energy Inc. is proposing to triple the amount of utility-scale solar power on its grid in Colorado, and add another 450 megawatts of wind power….

If approved, the plan would cut Xcel’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than one-third compared to 2005 levels.

Read the whole article: ClimateProgress

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Georgia Power’s Proposed Solar Tariff Scrutinized

solar_panel-_creative_commonsby 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

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State regulators hear Georgia Power rate case

Solar Georgia Powerby Dave Williams
ATLANTA 10/1/13 — Georgia Power Co. was described Tuesday as a generous corporate citizen and a monopoly that’s too close to the state agency that decides how much profit it’s allowed to earn.

Supporters and opponents of the Atlanta-based utility’s $482 million rate increase request took turns praising and criticizing Georgia Power during a hearing before the Georgia Public Service Commission.

The company is seeking a rate hike of 6.1 percent, which would increase the average residential customer bill by $7.84 per month, to keep up with operating and maintenance costs during a time of sluggish economic growth that has cut into its sales.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Business Chronicle

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Utilities, solar companies in fight over rates

bRooftop_Solar_farmy Associated Press
ATLANTA 10/1/13 — Sunlight is free, but if you use it to make electricity your power company wants you to pay.

Utilities in many states say solar-friendly rate plans, conceived to promote alternative energy sources, are too generous and allow solar customers to avoid paying for the grid even though they use it.

Some power companies are proposing an extra fee for solar customers. Others are trying to roll back or block programs that allow those customers to trade the solar power they generate during sunny days for power they need from the grid during other times.

Read the whole article: Athens On-Line

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