Georgia Power ordered to refund more than $43 million to customers

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Georgia Power customers will be getting a refund.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered the utility to refund $43.6 million to customers saying that Georgia Power earned more than the approved rate of return on equity in 2016.

There is no date for the refund yet or how much each customer may receive.

The PSC is also telling Georgia Power that it must report back by Feb. 20 and indicate how much savings the company expects to glean from the new federal tax bill, which is lowering corporate tax rates.

One city in Georgia is already estimating that the utility will save tens of millions of dollars and is asking the PSC to direct that money be given back to customers as well.

“There are definitely proposals elsewhere in which customer reductions are being considered and so we hope that Georgia does the same thing – that the PSC looks at putting money back into customers pockets so that there is actually a benefit to the economy,” said Sara Barczak from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Barczak also said that a refund from the return one equity issue is appropriate. She says since customers have paid so much money up front for the Vogtle nuclear reactors that the least the company can do is “offer this $43 million back to its ratepayers.”

Keep in mind, the Vogtle nuclear reactors are still not built and have been delayed by up to five years.

Georgia Power sent this statement regarding the return on equity ordered refund:

Georgia Power is committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates that are consistently below the national average. The refund approved Tuesday by the Georgia Public Service Commission is a direct result of a constructive regulatory environment that benefits Georgia Power customers, and a component of the company’s current rate plan approved in 2013.The company maintains its long-term commitment to effectively manage its business, and share those benefits with its customers. The exact amount per customer and the date of the refunds will be determined in a later filing.

The company also told us this about Tax Reform:

Georgia Power customers will directly benefit from the tax savings the company is expected to receive from the new tax reform law. The company is currently conducting a detailed review of the complex law to assess the impacts on both the company and customers. Georgia Power will prepare a report on the impacts of the new tax law and file that report with the Georgia Public Service Commission by Feb. 20, 2018.

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