Georgia Power is asking the state Public Service Commission for yet another rate hike, with three days of public hearings scheduled for next week.

The power company is asking for a rate hike of nearly 12% over the next three years. That, according to the Georgia Recorder, is more than $16 per month on average.

Georgia Conservation Voters, one of several groups opposed to the rate hike, says Georgia Power is looking for consumers to pay for ongoing cost overruns to expand Plant Vogtle, a nuclear power plant that is doubling in size just three hours east on I-20.

According to Krista Brewer, “The Southern Company recently disclosed profits for the second quarter of 2022 were 1.1 billion. For the same period last year, profits were only $372 million. Yet Georgia Power, which is solely owned by The Southern Company,  has recently asked state regulators to approve a nearly 12% increase in the rates customers pay for their electricity over the next three years. The question on the table for the next few years is who will absorb all the extra costs for the two new units. Independent monitors have testified before the PSC over and over that these huge cost overruns have been due largely to mismanagement and have not been ‘reasonable and prudent costs.’ Therefore, the power company shareholders, not ratepayers, should be responsible for these expenses.”

You can watch the hearing live or see previous hearings on the Georgia PSC YouTube channel. However, that’s not the same thing as being there in person to make your voice heard.

The hearings will take place starting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept, 27; Tuesday, Sept. 28; and Wednesday, Sept. 29 at PSC Headquarters, 244 Washington Street in Atlanta. Public comment takes place between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and is limited to 3 minutes per speaker.

The Public Service Commission is at 244 Washington Street across from the Gold Dome. Taking the MARTA train to the Georgia State station and walking two blocks may be easier (and cheaper) than looking for a place to park near the Capitol. See the marker on the lower left side of the map,

Whether or not you decide to attend the meeting in person, you can tell the PSC what you think about Georgia Power’s rate hike request by filing an opinion on the PSC’s website. Be sure to include the docket number, which is 44280.

If you attend in person, these are the PSC’s guidelines for public comment:

A sign-up sheet for public comments will be provided at the Executive Secretary’s office 1 hour prior to the start time for that day’s hearing. It’s strictly first-come, first-serve.

  • The 1st hour of each actual hearing day will be designated for public comments. If a hearing is scheduled on a particular day and the hearing has already concluded, public comments will not be received on that scheduled hearing day since the hearing has already concluded.
  • Each public commenter will be given up to 3 minutes at the podium to offer comments. All persons making public comments will be expected to conduct themselves appropriately. There will be no profanity, costumes, signs or props allowed in the Commission building. Any violation may result in immediate ejection from the building. Please note that the Commission may exclude any person for “any indecorous or improper conduct.” O.C.G.A 50-13-13(a)(6).
  • Additionally, the Commission may disallow any person from making or continuing to make a statement if the statement is redundant or not related to the issues at hand, or if the person is conducting him or herself in “a disruptive, offensive, or defamatory manner.” GPSC Rule 515-2-1-.06(4)(a).
  • After the 1st hour has concluded, any remaining persons wishing to make public comments will be required to return on the next hearing day to offer the public comments.
  • At the conclusion of the public comment time, anyone not a party to the case being heard will be asked to leave the hearing room.
  • If there are no public commenters at the start time of the hearing, the Commission will wait 10 minutes. If still no public commenters at 10 minutes past the start time, then the Commission will immediately proceed to the hearing.
  • If the public comments conclude prior to the completion of the first scheduled hour of the hearing then the Commission will wait 10 minutes to ensure no additional public commenters arrive and if no additional commenters arrive after that 10-minute period, the Commission will immediately proceed to the hearing.
  • As a reminder all Public Comments can be submitted in writing through the Commission’s website at .

For ratepayers in Clayton County who are already dealing with the combination of higher property taxes and inflation in general, despite earning about half of what the rest of metro Atlantans make, the prospect of a 12% rate hike is grim for many.

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Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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