Georgia Power customers to see cuts in electric bills next year

Ana Santos of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this story.

Here's something to celebrate in the new year: lower electric bills for Georgia Power customers.

The average residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will see a fuel savings of about $5 a month on their bill.

The rate reduction will be more than originally forecast by the utility in September. Georgia Power's original fuel case filing anticipated a savings of approximately $4 a month.

Altogether, customers are expected to save about $424 million on power bills next year, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Georgia Power has reached a stipulated agreement with the Public Service Commission staff to resolve the company's 2015 fuel case.  The stipulation is expected to be approved by the Georgia PSC in mid-December.

The extra savings is the result of an updated fuel forecast that reflects a continuing decline in natural gas prices.

"We're able to take advantage of these lower natural gas prices and pass those savings along to customers," Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft told WSB Radio.

The agreement states fuel rates should be reduced by an additional $156 million, bringing the total savings to about 14%.  In its original estimate, Georgia Power anticipated a reduction of 11%, or approximately $268 million.

Despite scheduled increases in other areas of your power bills, the typical residential customer "should still see a net reduction of a couple dollars per month."

"If this is approved, we'd see these reductions starting in January of 2016," Kraft added.

Under state law, Georgia Power is not allowed to profit on the fuel it uses.

The story originally appeared on WSB Radio.