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As Natural Gas Prices Dip, Georgia Power Requests Lower Fuel Rates

September 30, 2015 By Cheryl Kaften

Georgia Power filed a request (Document Filing #160292) with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on September 21 to reduce fuel rates by 11 percent – or about $268 million in annual fuel billings.

The Atlanta-based electric utility, which serves 2.4 million customers, said the decrease in fuel costs primarily is being driven by lower natural gas prices.

If approved by the PSC on or around December 15, the new, lower fuel rates will be effective January 1, 2016. A typical residential customer averaging 1,000 kilowatt-hours (KWh) per month could see a fuel savings of 3 percent – or $4 on each monthly bill. This is expected by Georgia Power to offset any base rate increase requested within the next few weeks.

“Due to proactive planning and a commitment to a diverse fuel mix, Georgia Power is able to take advantage of lower natural gas prices,” the company stated, adding, “As part of this commitment, the company continues to cultivate a flexible generation portfolio to meet Georgia’s future energy needs, including newer combined-cycle natural gas generation at Plant McDonough-Atkinson, thousands of solar panels being installed across the state, and the new nuclear units under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro.”

Fuel rates are set separately from base rates. Georgia Power does not earn a profit on fuel costs and is allowed recovery of all “prudently incurred” fuel expenses. While fuel rates will decrease in 2016, the company’s base rates will increase as the result of a separate filing Georgia Power must submit (as part of the 2013 rate settlement agreement) to the PSC by October 2, to address environmental and other costs.

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