A fuel fee that is included in Georgia Power customer bills is headed down, thanks to lower prices for natural gas used to fuel some power plants.

Georgia Power customers to see fuel charges fall on monthly bills

Georgia Power customers will get a break on monthly electric bills because of cheap prices for natural gas used to generate electricity.

The state Public Service Commission approved changes Thursday that will save the average residential customer about $10 a month in fuel-cost charges from June to September. After that, the reduction will be about $5 a month.

The total savings for all ratepayers is expected to be $785 million.

The PSC approves the fuel charges based largely on the company’s cost projections. It’s not unusual for fuel tariffs in bills to rise or fall every few years as the PSC and the company recalibrate based on actual costs and new projections.

Natural gas came in lower than the company projected in recent years. The new break approved by the PSC arrives as pressure on residential bills has been rising. Georgians are using more electricity at home as they spend more time there during the pandemic. And electric bills traditionally go up over the summer when residents crank up air conditioners.

The PSC this week also decided to reduce but continue a Georgia Power program designed to protect customers against sharp spikes in natural gas prices. The program has cost consumers far more than it saved them.

Over the last 15 years, customers ended up paying $638 million more as a result of Georgia Power’s hedging of natural gas prices, according to staff for the PSC. Staff urged an end to the program, saying the PSC’s practice of keeping fuel charges in bills steady over several months is a more efficient and less expensive option.

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