- As part of a rate case, Georgia Power dropped its request to charge an average $22 a month fee to homeowners who install solar panels on their roofs. Georgia Power argued that the fee was needed because customers who produced their own power were not paying for their share the utility's grid costs. But Georgia Power has only withdrawn the proposed fee "to submit it another time," according to Morris News Service.
- Georgia Power agreed to phase in higher rates over three years instead of the one-time $482.3 million, or 6.1%, hike the Atlanta-based utility proposed in June.
- If approved, Georgia Power would increase its rates by $110 million, or 1.4%, next year followed by a $186.8 million increase in 2015 and a $169.8 million hike in 2016, under an agreement reached Monday with Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) staff.
Although just one issue in a large rate case, Georgia Power's proposal to charge customers an extra fee for installing solar panels drew heat from environmental groups and skepticism from some PSC commissioners. Last week, Arizona regulators sharply reduced a similar proposal from Arizona Public Service. It's too soon to say that utilities are rethinking proposed charges for solar panels to defray their fixed costs, but we'll be keeping an eye on this issue.
Georgia Power agreed to lower its authorized return on equity (ROE) to 10.95%, down from its current 11.15% ROE and below the 11.5% ROE the utility asked for. Even so, Georgia Power believes the investor community will like the proposal to increase rates gradually over three years.
“The terms of this settlement agreement show a reasonable balance of interests that, if adopted by the Commission, would represent a continuation of this Commission’s long-standing constructive regulation and would be viewed favorably by the investment community,” Georgia Power said in a Monday filing with the PSC.
The PSC plans to vote on the rate case agreement next month.