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Public Service Commission Election Could Impact Your Georgia Power Rates – WABE

Two Georgia Civil Service Commission seats are on the primary ballots in May.

Even if you don’t consider them flagship races, the candidates who end up in these positions can end up having a direct effect on Georgian household budgets.

WABE’s Molly Samuel joined ‘All Things Considered’ to give a Civics 101 on the Public Service Commission (PSC) and what’s at stake on your ballot. Currently, all five commissioners are Republicans. Two are re-eligible.

“The commission regulates landlines, natural gas companies, and they also regulate Georgia Power,” Samuel said.

Georgia Power’s regulation means they have a say in monthly rates. They also regulate where that power comes from.

“Georgia Power is proposing to phase out all of its coal and boost renewables, and so they are evaluating those options,” Samuel said.

“The PSC also regulates construction at Plant Vogtle, which is the only nuclear energy construction project in the country,” Samuel said.

Commissioners also have control over spending at Plant Vogtle. But chronic delays have driven the price from the original $14 billion to more than $30 billion.

“Georgia Power customers may not realize it, but they are already paying some of the costs on their monthly bills,” Samuel said.

“Electricity bills will rise even more to pay Vogtle once the reactors come online, and that should be next year. The PSC has control over which of these costs are passed on to customers.”

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.