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WG&L to boost electric rates by 10 percent March 1

Mild weather, fees from the Muncipal Electric Authority of Georgia are to blame, officials say.

— ALBANY — Facing a loss of $2 million in revenues thanks to a mild winter, and a $16 million increase in fees it’s charged by the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia over the last two years, board members of the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission voted Thursday to raise electric rates by 10 percent effective March 1.

Finance Director John Vansant III, said Thursday that WG&L officials had hoped to avoid any kind of rate increase until at least the start of the new fiscal year July 1, but a mild winter has forced the timetable up, as the utility clamors to cover a coverage gap that has already cost them $4 million out of reserves.

“We knew we were going to have to have a 10 percent increase, but we were hoping that that we could put it off until July 1. But the incredibly mild weather has hit us hard and the Light Department fell extremely short of what we had budgeted,” Vansant said.

While milder winters and cooler summers are bliss for rate payers who can shut off their heaters and air conditioners, it’s a killer for a utility like WG&L who purchases electricity from MEAG in advance and then sees its revenues drop.

“You have ebbs and flows in the cash flow. But because sales have been so slow, that has been exacerbated,” Vansant said. “On a typical year, we’d spend $1.5 million. This year, we’ve had to spend $4 million.”

By increasing the rates, Vansant said the utility hopes to generate $9 million in additional revenue. That, added to the $4 million generated by a 5 percent increase last July, will get WG&L close to the $16 million fee figure.

Comments

TheBoss 2 years, 5 months ago

Has WGL ever though about cuting some jobs.

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Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

Thank Obama for choking out coal-fired power plants across the country. Coal fired plants are a large percentage of suppliers. This was bound to drive up electricity prices. The EPA needs to be disbanded.

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43cop 2 years, 5 months ago

This is going to finish off the remaining 15% that are known as TAXPAYERS. By the time the city commission and the county commission gets through with their tax increase, maybe they can continue to get the City Manager and the County Administrator to pick up the remaining percentage to continue their "give-away" programs.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

JD how about some details on $3 million WG&L receives annually for its participation in MEAG's trust program How much has been siphoned off by the City Commissioners.

. WG&L warned years ago this could and would most likely happen if the City Commissioners stole money from the refund payments coming from MEAG. WG&L wanted to save the MEAG refunds in reserve to protect the rate payers. But the City Commissioners decided the people who paid the incorrect rates should not get a refund but that the City Commissioners should TAKE the money for the Greater Good of all people in Albany. More FREE money for the City Commissioners.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

They should do what any business in the world does that has to make ends meet and make a profit and CUT their costs by 10%! It's no excuse that a "mild winter" has hurt their revenues!!?? It should have reduced their costs to produce power as well!!

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whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

WG&L is a purchaser and distributor, not a producer. It appears an advance agreement worked to our disadvantage this time. Kind of "bites" when using less winds up costing more--so much for conservation.

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Sally_O 2 years, 5 months ago

They want you to use less water to conserve water, but raise your rates when you don't use enough water. Now because you haven't run your heating system enough to use gas, they pentalize you for that as well. Gas prices continues to rise, now our electric bill will shoot up. You just can't create your own budget to save money. There is always something there to take it away.

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tocar 2 years, 5 months ago

What incentives does any taxpayer have to stay in Albany, Georgia? Not any wonder all of the businesses have fled leaving us with not anything but 85 percent or better who do not work or pay taxes. Way to go Albany!!! Where did we find the ones who are making decisions for the betterment of this community? Answer: Under a rock.

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terihdfxr1 2 years, 5 months ago

Just another way that this city and its partners are putting the screws to the people! It should be a blessing that we had a mild winter, we were all using less energy, so WHY is this justifiable. Dare I say greed on WGL's behalf? You were not supplying more energy, you just lost a little profit, and now we have to make up for that.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 5 months ago

This kind of stuff kills me...the public uses less to try to save money and now the little bit you do use ends up costing the same as the amount of electricity you used to use. Then when the summer of 2012 bakes us all, WG&L will be complaining that we're using too much power and get a ton more money since the rate hike has taken effect. Sound familiar to the oil situation?

Laying off folks is a non-starter for them. That will never happen.

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DoctorDorite 2 years, 5 months ago

This is what happens when you elect/appoint people who have NO business sense. Its simple business math, when revenues are down you CUT BACK on every expense you can. You reap what you sow, Typical Albany !!

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