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Miller concedes, Eaton returns to public service commission

After a hotly contested Georgia Public Service Commission runoff, democrat Lindy Miller conceded the election Wednesday to her republican opponent, incumbent Chuck Eaton.

The win in Tuesday’s statewide runoff will send Eaton back to the commission to serve his third, six-year term. The commission regulates investor-owned electric, natural gas and telecom companies that operate in the state.

“This afternoon I spoke with Commissioner Chuck Eaton, and congratulated him for retaining his seat on the commission,” Miller said in a statement. “I urged him to listen to the voices of nearly half of his constituents and expand our investments in energy efficiency and in renewable energy.”

Eaton captured nearly 52 percent of the vote to Miller’s roughly 48 percent of the roughly 1.4 million votes cast.

“I’m humbled that the people of Georgia have allowed me the opportunity to serve them for another term at the PSC,” Eaton said. “I will continue to do everything possible to make Georgia a great place to live and do business.”

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The PSC District 3 race was pushed to a runoff after the general election last month resulted in neither candidate receiving 50 percent of the votes after a libertarian challenger peeled off nearly 3 percent the vote.

Miller, a businesswoman and former executive at Deloitte, said she emphasized to Eaton, who will represent District 3, which includes Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale and Clayton counties, the need for greater transparency on the commission.

“I also offered my help in whatever capacity he saw fit to advance the interests of consumers in this state,” Miller said.

Eaton said he wouldn’t rule out working with Miller.

“I am sure there is something that we can work on together. I just have to think that through,” said Eaton.

Elections for the commission are normally low profile contests that draw interest from industry insiders, but rarely animate the public at large. But the delayed expansion of the Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear plants south of Augusta and cost overruns associated with the project, helped draw interest to the race. Eaton said his top priority will be to ensure the success of the Vogtle nuclear expansion and he’s committed to seeing the project through.

Miller said she was proud of the campaign and the ability to elevate issues important to consumers.

“Traditionally, the Public Service Commission flies under the radar. Over the last 18 months, we’ve changed that. We’ve shined a light on why this seat is so important,” said Miller also thanking her supporters.

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