Georgia Power challenges solar utility plan

Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 5:02 PM
Last updated 8:39 PM
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ATLANTA — Georgia Power Co. is objecting to a proposal to end its monopoly and allow a start-up company to compete for retail customers.

Late Friday, Georgia Power filed a formal response with the Public Service Commission challenging a request by Georgia Solar Utilities Inc.

GaSU contends there is ample sunlight to produce electricity for much of the state during peak hours at a rate below what Georgia Power charges. It wants to sell electricity during sunny hours over lines owned by other companies, including Georgia Power, electric membership cooperatives and city-owned utilities.

Georgia Power says GaSU isn’t equipped to become a utility.

“GaSU does not have any of the services typically provided by a utility. It has no customers, no existing generation resources, no distributions lines nor the ability to transmit or distribute any generation to any customers and no plan to offer safe, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week electric service to customers,” wrote Georgia Power attorney Kevin Greene, adding that the company expects all of the 94 electricity providers in the state to provide those services.

Georgia Power is not completely protected from competition. The state’s 94 electricity providers compete for large business customers, which have one chance to pick a utility and are locked in. And Georgia Power competes against other companies when new generation plants are awarded on the basis of competitive bidding.

GaSU is seeking to get monopoly protection as the only solar provider and avoid having to bid for generation projects, according to Greene.

He also said GaSU needs to file other documents that Georgia Power routinely submits to the commission.

GaSU President Robert Green acknowledges that more documents would have to be filed but said his company is just seeking commission approval of the concept before submitting them.

He argues that the big company’s objections are a defense against a better competitor.

“We have no fuel costs, no environmental problems. It’s not possible for them to compete with us over the long term,” he said. “They just can’t do it.”

So far, the commission hasn’t scheduled a hearing to consider GaSU’s request.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/12/12 - 08:11 pm
Not so fast

GaSU president Robert Green said, "We have no fuel costs, no environmental problems."

Well, solar panels are not miracles that will drive electricity costs to zero. Their manufacture generates many pounds of hazardous waste that has to be shipped to repositories. Their shipment from factory to warehouse to final destination requires diesel fuel and gasoline. Their installation requires energy and manpower. They have to be cleaned regularly. They sometimes break, especially in tornadoes and hailstorms. If you put them in big farms, there is real estate eaten up in unsightly fields. You can minimize this by putting them on the roofs of existing buildings, but the building owners expect rent. There are a lot of negatives with solar.

afadel 11/12/12 - 09:17 pm
Please pay attention to Public Service Commission Candidates

I was disappointed that the 2 incumbent Public Service Commissioners won their seats last week.

Before the next election, remember that the Public Service Commission will make a decision on this and other related matters.

In Georgia, it seems that the Public Service Commission is simply a rubber stamp for Georgia Power.

Techfan 11/13/12 - 06:10 am
The GOP skipped the PSC

The GOP skipped the PSC (thanks to lots of lobbyists and millions spent wining and dining them) with the 2009 vote to have us start paying for it before it ever really was totally approved. A lot of folks will be long dead before it gets on line and will have paid for nothing. A monopoly, guaranteed rate of return (and a ridiculously high one at that), shareholders or the company never have to take any risks for development, just pass everything down to the ratepayers.They have a sweet deal.

soapy_725 11/13/12 - 07:12 am
Southern Company will

challenge any source of electrical power for which it does not own the patents. They are in business to make MONEY from the sale of a product. Find someone to blame for the excesses of the Ignorant and Apathetic. Solar panels, hydrogen fuel cells, electric battery cars, wind farms, etc. have been around for at least 60 years. If they were cost effective, Wal Mart would have them in their stores. The prices would be competitive. Why do some products make it in the free market place?

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