Georgia Power has proposed a series of increases in customer charges. See how much your bill would increase if their proposal is approved.Maggie Shober and Chris Carnevale | September 16, 2019
Georgia Power has proposed to charge customers an additional $2.2 billion by increasing the rate that residential customers pay for electricity as well as by nearly doubling the “Basic Service Charge,” which is the mandatory monthly fee that must be paid regardless of how much power is used. Because this is a mandatory fee and cannot be lowered by using less power, customers would owe at least $215 per year before they even flip on a light switch if the fee is approved (and likely $300 when you include tacked-on costs and taxes). This would be among the highest mandatory monthly fees of investor-owned utilities around the country, and would take away customers’ ability to control their bills, disproportionately hurt customers who use the least energy and are least able to afford the costly changes, and punish energy conservation and solar energy.
Georgia Power’s proposal isn’t a done deal yet, though. Before going into effect, the proposal must be approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), which means that it can be defeated if we speak up loudly in opposition! So raise your voice at NoFeeHike.com!
How Would Bills Increase, Specifically?
Currently residential customers pay a $10 per month Basic Service Charge to Georgia Power before using any electricity. Georgia Power proposes to increase that fee over 3 years to at least $17.95 per month, or an increase of 80%, with more fee increases likely after 2022. Georgia Power has also proposed to increase energy usage rates an estimated 2-5% per year and to increase riders, which also make up a large portion of monthly bills, by an average of 16%.
So how much would YOUR bill go up under Georgia Power’s proposal? Check out the chart and table below to see how much your bill would increase if Georgia Power gets their fee hike approved.
In the table below, you can see that customers who currently pay $65/month would end up paying about $82/month in 2022, customers who currently pay $75/month would end up paying about $93/month, and customers who currently pay $85/month would end up paying about $104/month.
One particularly bad characteristic of Georgia Power’s proposal is that the largest impacts would be to customers who use the least energy. These low-usage customers include seniors on fixed incomes, working families earning lower incomes, and renters living in apartment buildings – and are often those who can least afford the costly changes. You can clearly see in the chart and table below how low-usage customers are stuck with the largest proportional increases in their bills.
The customers who currently pay $65/month and would end up paying around $82 would suffer a bill increase of about 26% in 2022, while customers who currently pay $265 would end up with a $306 bill, a lesser increase of about 15%. Though we know how much the fixed charge will increase, Georgia Power has not disclosed exactly how much they plan to charge customers for energy usage (per kWh) in 2021 or 2022, so we had to calculate estimated energy rates for those years based on other information in the filing.
To read about how the proposed fee hikes will impact agricultural customers, read our other posting here.