Georgia Power’s customers should keep an eye out for a one-time credit on their March bill, the company recently announced.
The average residential customer will see a roughly $23 credit on their bill this month, though Georgia Power said the exact amount of each payback will vary by each customer’s energy usage last year. The company said the credit was due to “stronger than expected performance” in 2022, which saw the company rake in earnings that were $297 million higher than previously estimated.
With the approval of the Georgia Public Service Commission — the five-member elected body tasked with regulating the utility — Georgia Power got to keep all profits within its allowed earnings band of 9.50% to 12% last year. However, the company is required to split earnings above that 12% threshold with customers and use the remainder to pay down the cost of its assets.
“As a result, and with the approval of the Georgia PSC in December, the company will expedite sharing of these earnings, returning $119 million directly to customers via credits on their monthly bill, with an additional $119 million to be applied to the company’s operations, thus reducing future costs for customers,” the company said in a recent news release.
The modest, one-time credit comes after Georgia Power just raised rates with the PSC’s approval, and while a slew of other rate increases loom for its customers. Federal data show that ratepayers across Georgia — not just those served by Georgia Power — are already saddled with some of the most expensive monthly electricity bills in the country.
The average Georgia Power customer is already paying roughly $4 a month more for electricity that they were last year, after the PSC signed off on a $1.8 billion rate increase in December 2022. Larger, additional rate hikes of 4.5% will kick in during 2024 and 2025, but an exact dollar amount associated with those increases is not yet known.
Georgia Power also just asked to collect an even bigger sum — $2.1 billion — from its ratepayers to cover the cost of the coal, gas and nuclear fuel used in its power plants. If cleared by the PSC, those fuel costs could drive up the average customers’ monthly bill by between $17 and $23. That rate increase is likely to be approved and would take effect on June 1.
Even more hikes could follow later this year to pay for the cost of the two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, which are more than five years behind schedule and billions over budget.
Meanwhile, Georgia Power’s parent — Southern Company — recently reporting that its profits for all of last year climbed to $3.5 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2021. Those profits would have been even higher if not for a $285 million financial hit absorbed from ongoing construction at its power plants and other factors, the company said.
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