Georgia Power asks Public Service Commission for rate increase

ATLANTA - Georgia Power is seeking approval of a 7 percent increase to its customers' base rates - a move that would add about $6.67 to the average monthly bill.

Georgia Power will present its case for the increase to the Georgia Public Service Commission at a hearing this week. The Georgia Public Service Commission can approve all, part or none of the requested increase, said Lynn Wallace, spokeswoman for Georgia Power.

A decision is expected on the increase by December and any changes would not take effect until Jan. 1, Wallace said.

Georgia Power serves approximately 125,000 homes in Gwinnett County.

The company filed for the rate increase in June in anticipation of some large expenditures over the next three years, Wallace said.

The majority of the expenses are due to the cost of implementing more environmental controls. Georgia Power anticipates spending $2.25 billion on environmental controls between 2007 and 2010. In total, Georgia Power will spend $5 billion on environmental controls, new generation and new infrastructure over the next three years, Wallace said.

The last time Georgia Power requested a rate increase was in 2005 when rates rose 4.2 percent. Prior to that, the company had not raised rates for 13 years and had even lowered rates several times, Wallace said.

Wallace said Georgia Power customers are still getting a comparatively good deal on their power, with the company's rates costing 17 percent less than the national average.

The Georgia Public Service Commission did not return a call about the hearing by press time on Monday.