We're still a few weeks away from final PSC decisions on the Georgia Power IRP (Integrated Resource Plan) and yet we've already begun the companion Rate Case process. The Company made its filing along with pre-filed testimony last week. Here's what's in it.
Bryan Jacob and Heather Pohnan | July 1, 2022 | Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy, Georgia, Solar, Utilities
Georgians have long struggled to afford high energy bills, and consumers are now beginning to see how fossil fuel dependence impacts their wallets. Considering this backdrop, we at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy are disappointed to see that the latest Georgia Power rate case filing doesn’t create more opportunities for customers to reduce their energy burden through energy efficiency programs, and additionally takes steps to block solar growth in the state – all while lining shareholders pockets.
In pre-filed testimony , CEO Chris Womack states, “At Georgia Power, our customers are, and will always be, at the center of all we do.” This echoes similar statements made by Southern Company CEO, Tom Fanning, in a 2021 report that outlines the company’s views on energy justice: “We believe the communities we serve should be better off because we are there – a goal that’s bigger than the bottom line.”
All evidence to the contrary. If customers were at the center, and if there were anything bigger than the bottom line, Georgia Power would be embracing more energy efficiency programs. In the latest IRP, Georgia Power proposed to freeze energy efficiency savings levels at the same levels ordered by the Commission in 2019. And the rate case looks to be no different: Mr. Womack’s testimony doesn’t mention energy efficiency, at all.
Georgia Power’s own analysis reveals that more energy efficiency would result in lower total cost for customers. The utility’s objection to expanding the energy efficiency (Demand Side Management, DSM) program targets is that the Company perceives it as a “cost shift” – some customers who choose not to take advantage of the programs would still have to pay for those that do. And if that’s truly a concern, the Company should actuallyincrease its energy efficiency offerings. Many low-income customers have been paying into energy efficiency for years or even decades with every monthly bill, even before income-qualified energy efficiency programs were available to them.
Further, it’s disingenuous for Georgia Power to oppose programs that would enable customers to reduce their consumption and bills because it would potentially increase ratepayer costs when they are proposing to increase the Return on Equity (ROE) from 10.5% to 11.0% which will cause a direct cost-shift of $80 million per year from Georgia Power ratepayers to Southern Company shareowners.
The rate case process is just getting started. We’re presently working with the first filing made on June 24. The first round of hearings will begin on September 19, followed by another on November 8. A decision is scheduled for December 20.
Additionally, we’re still a few weeks away from final PSC decisions on the Georgia Power IRP (Integrated Resource Plan).
We’re bringing Georgians together to be the generation that achieves clean, safe, and healthy communities because all of us deserve to benefit from an equitable clean energy transformation. Join us to learn how you can stay involved in the rate case and more to Renew Georgia.
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