In the company’s official press release, Georgia Power cites the need to raise rates to cover its investments in infrastructure, rebuild its storm restoration fund, and environmental compliance, including cleanup of coal ash ponds that store the toxic waste left over from burning coal that can pollute our groundwater. This is problematic for the marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by environmental injustices from carbon-based energy production and the rising costs of energy. For instance, black and brown households and renters earning lower incomes already devote up to three times more of their income to energy costs than higher-income households, according to ACEEE. Normally, an electricity customer can control their bill by controlling how much power they use. But high mandatory fees take away your ability to control your energy costs through weatherization and energy efficiency programs, or clean energy like rooftop solar that can really lower your bills. Georgia Power’s proposed hike is unjustified, inequitable, and will hurt already-strapped communities the most.
To address these barriers and push back against Georgia Power's proposed rate and fee increases, the Partnership for Southern Equity and its partners (www.psequity.org) have launched the "Fight the Hike" campaign to support Georgia families overburdened by high energy bills. Community conversations, protests, and town halls have been held throughout the state to educate residents about Georgia Power's proposal, inform them on the role of the Public Service Commission in the ultimate decision, and provide ways that they can take action!
So, what can you do to stop Georgia Power? Call or send an email to your Public Service Commissioner, city council person, state legislator and other elected officials. They must hear from you!
We are asking Georgia Power to rescind their drastic proposal to increase both rates and fees and avoid increasing energy burdens on struggling families.
Use the hashtags #stopgeorgiapower and #fightthehike to post about this inequitable hike on social media and urge your followers, friends and community to #fightthehike! Join the fight today at www.fightthehike.org.
Nathaniel Smith is the founder and chief equity officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity and chairman of the Atlanta Public School System’s Affordable Housing Taskforce.
Chandra Farley is the Just Energy Director for the Partnership for Southern Equity.