Georgia PSC Says AGL Should Lower Charges, Not Raise Them
As we reported earlier this year, Atlanta Gas Light wants to increase rates on natural gas consumers in Georgia. When AGL presented its request to the Georgia Public Services Commission, it hit back with total disagreement. Rather than approving a rates rise, the PSC thinks AGL rates should decrease. Negotiations are still at a relatively early stage, so it’s not yet certain how things will play out. One thing’s for sure, though; now is a great time to lock in a cheap natural gas rate.
What’s the Atlanta Gas Light Rate Increase For?
AGL is looking to increase its charges by about $50 per household per year. In a 3-day public hearing AGL laid out the reasons why it needs to charge higher rates. Consumers aren’t exactly thrilled about paying higher natural gas bills, but if the money’s being spent on essential infrastructure and safety it’s an easier pill to swallow. However, according to testimony filed with the PSC, PSC staffers disagree with AGL’s proposal on a number of important points. For example, they contend that AGL intends to finance employee bonuses with this money, something the PSC believes “should be borne by shareholders, not customers”.
The PSC also alleges that AGL’s current position doesn’t just reflect the unavoidable consequences of being a major natural gas distributor. PSC Staffers argue that AGL failed cutting costs in 2016. when Atlanta-based Southern Company bought out its parent company. Essentially, the PSC says that AGL really isn’t providing value for money, and shouldn’t expect customers to pay more as a consequence.
PSC Recommendations for AGL Pass Through Charges
Rather than rates increasing by $96 million, the PSC thinks rates should drop by $42 million. Obviously, AGL representatives didn’t think much of this suggestion, one of whom said it “wasn’t unusual for the PSC staff to stake out an extreme position” such as this one. The implication is that they believe the PSC is getting ready to haggle, hoping to barter AGL down from $96 million to something a little cheaper. They may be right. In any case, it isn’t clear precisely what the outcome will be. Further discussions will take place on October 23, when both parties will seek to make their voices heard.
What Should Customers Do About AGL Rates?
If AGL increases its base charges, which it’s likely to do to some extent, then your natural gas bill delivery charges will go up. You can protect yourself from cost increases by locking in a cheap natural gas rate as soon as possible. Start by shopping and comparing natural gas plans in Georgia to find the best deal in your area. You can even stay up to date with the best rates wherever you are by downloading the Georgia Gas Savings app for iOS and Android. Switch and save directly from your smartphone in just a few minutes! Download the app here: https://www.georgiagassavings.com/apps/ga