Ga. Power’s fuel cost rider will be reduced 15 percent

[private]The continued drop in the price of natural gas will mean another decrease in the rates charged to Georgia Power’s customers.

The Public Service Commission was told Thursday that the fuel cost fee Georgia Power includes on its monthly electric bills will be reduced by 15 percent effective June 1.

That will mean an estimated decrease of $4 to $5 on the bill of a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month.

The PSC will hold a final vote Tuesday on the fuel rate reduction and is expected to approve it. That action will be taken just one week before Commissioner Tim Echols goes before the voters in the May 24 Republican primary, where he has opposition from Kellie Pollard Austin and Michelle Miller.

“We’re lowering rates, aren’t we?” Echols asked rhetorically at a commission meeting. “And that’s a good thing.”

Georgia Power adds a fuel cost rider to each monthly bill to cover the cost paid for the coal, natural gas, and nuclear fuel that operate its generation facilities. The rider is intended to cover the full cost of fuel, but the utility is not allowed to make a profit from it.

Over the past few years, the widespread development of fracking has drastically lowered the price of natural gas, which results in Georgia Power collecting more from customers than the cost of the gas — a surplus that is mitigated by lowering the fuel cost rider on monthly bills.

As an indication of how quickly the price of natural gas has been declining, this rate decrease comes just five months after the last Georgia Power fuel rate reduction, which was also 15 percent and took effect Jan. 1.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

[/private]

Tags: fuel costs , Georgia Power , natural gas prices , Tim Echols