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PSC challenger assails Ga. Power decision

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:27 AM
Last updated 7:07 PM
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ATLANTA -- Last week’s Public Service Commission vote to approve lower charges for Georgia Power customers sparked an attack by a candidate to that panel against an incumbent for his opposition to further cuts.

The commissioners approved an agreement the company worked out with their staff for revisions in charges for fuel. Georgia Power had already begun lowering customer bills by an average of $8 a month earlier. Thursday’s vote was to formally approve the arrangement.

But two commissioners proposed a slightly bigger cut by disallowing $3.2 million in charges run up during some 2011 power outages at the company’s nuclear plants Hatch and Vogtle. The pair argued the charges were the result of “clearly imprudent” management.

Commissioner Stan Wise objected to disallowing the outage expenses and was part of the 3-2 majority that killed the disallowance proposal.

Now his challenger for the Republican nomination, Pam Davidson, is attacking him.

“Here Stan Wise goes again, siding with the utility he is supposed to be regulating and against the Georgia consumers, who will have to absorb millions of dollars in additional costs resulting from Georgia Power’s mistake,” she said. “Stan Wise cares more about Southern Company shareholders in New York than he does ratepayers in Georgia.”

Wise explained his position before the vote. He said that it would be unfair for the commission to take all the concessions that the company made in its negotiations with the PSC staff and then disallow another $3.2 million.

“You use everything that you gained in these negotiations and then you take it a step further,” he said. “... I just think it’s wrong.”

He compared it to a customer squeezing discounts out of a funeral home on all of the services and then buying a cheaper casket online when that was the only item the undertaker had expected to make a profit on.

“Now is that fair? Is that a business arrangement that any of us would want to deal with? I think not,” he said.

Wise, who’s been on the commission 18 years, faces Davidson, an alternative-energy consultant, in the July 31 Republican primary. Although candidates must live in the districts up for election, voters statewide decide the race.


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