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Georgia Power execs stand firm on proposed rate hike

Georgia Power CFO Aaron Abramovitz
Flanked by Georgia Power executives, the company's Chief Financial Officer, Aaron Abramovitz (center), testifies before the Georgia Public Service Commission on November 29, 2002

On the penultimate day of testimony over a proposed $2.9 billion rate hike, officials with Georgia Power defended the measure, which has to be approved by the state’s Public Service Commission.

The utility giant’s Chief Financial Officer Aaron Abramowitz stressed to regulators that the company’s rates remain below the national average, and that a lot has changed since the company last asked for a rate hike in 2019.

Abramovitz told regulators that those changes include, "the emergence of a global pandemic, rampant and rapid inflation that has increased costs for businesses and consumers alike, growing pressure on supply chains and labor markets, significant increases in the federal funds rate and cost of borrowing, and evolving customer needs, demands and requests for increased distributed energy resources in carbon free energy."

But, Public Service Commission staff, in their analysis of Georgia Power’s proposal, said that the company only needs to raise rates by $529 million over the next three years, less than 20 percent of what the company wants.

Abramowitz pushed back against criticisms of the nearly three billion dollar rate hike his company is requesting and said that anything less would be disastrous for Georgia Power.

"Many of the recommendations made by parties in this case would cause direct harm to customers by turning the well designed and balanced regulatory structure currently in place on its head, ultimately undermining the financial health and integrity of Georgia Power," he said.

Analysis by PSC staff estimates that if the rate hike is approved, an average consumer could see an increase in their power bill of almost $200 a year by 2025.

The Public Service Commission is expected to vote on the measure on December 20.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.