Regulators approve $1.77 billion Georgia Power rate increase

Power lines installed at Warner Robbins Air Force Base (Photo by Sue Sapp)

ATLANTA – Bills will be going up next year for Georgia Power Co.’s 2.6 million customers across the state.

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday for a plan projected to cost customers an additional $1.77 billion over the next three years.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of power a month will see bills rise beginning Jan. 1 by $5.89 a month, to $129.20. That will be followed by an increase of roughly half that size in 2021 and a larger increase in 2022, although Kraft said precise figures for those years weren’t immediately available.

The company says it needs the money to cover rising costs, including disposing coal ash now held near coal-fired power plants, as well as rebuilding following last year’s Hurricane Michael.

“The decision enables the company to continue investing our state’s energy future,” Kraft said.

As part of the deal, the basic service charge that residential customers must pay to connect to the grid will rise from $10 a month now to $12 in 2021 and $14 in 2022. Georgia Power had originally proposed raising the connection charge to $17.95 a month, among its proposals that raised the most opposition.

Georgia Power, the largest unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co., filed a request in June to raise rates by 7%.

Under a proposal by commissioner Tim Echols, rates will be set to give Georgia Power shareholders a return on equity of 10.5%. However, the company will be allowed a return in a band of 9.5% to 12%. The company had sought a band of 10% to 12%, while commission staff and Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald argued for a lower range.