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Environmental costs to be added to WG&L bills

ALBANY, Ga. — Small “mom and pop” businesses and other non-residential establishments that use relatively small amounts of electricity can expect a rate increase of around $18 a month next year if guidelines recommended by the Electric Cities of Georgia are adopted by the city of Albany’s Water, Gas & Light Commission.

ECG Manager of Pricing and Sales John Lansing told the WG&L board at its monthly meeting Thursday that a new rate structure will be needed by WG&L to pay for federally mandated Environmental Compliance Cost Recovery, due mostly to environmental concerns surrounding the use of coal to generate electricity.

Lansing told the board the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, of which WG&L is a member, gets 34.39 percent of its power from coal. The majority of the authority’s power is generated by non-polluting nuclear (52.5 percent) and hydro (8.41) sources.

“Of your total debt service (which Fiscal Affairs Director John Vansant said is $80 million), $8,940,000 will come from environmental cost recovery,” Lansing said. “That’s more than 10 percent. Of your cost of 7.73 cents per kilowatt hour, 1.53 cents is anti-pollution costs.

“Our recommendation is not a way to make money, but a revenue-nuetral means to account for these costs.”

The Electric Cities of Georgia recommendations for residential WG&L customers and large businesses in the city offer better news. Under ECG’s plan, residential customers’ and larger consumers’ rates would remain virtually the same, rising slightly in the summer and falling back in the winter.

“What’s been happening is your very best customers — the larger businesses — and to some degree your residential customers have been paying for the small businesses,” Lansing said. “The idea is to make (costs) more equitable.”

Vansant, who said he would recommend that any rate changes approved by the board not be enacted until March, noted that even with the recommended increase for smaller businesses, their rates would still be “substantially lower than Georgia Power’s.”

Also at the meeting, the board voted to raise the fine for tampering with WG&L electric, water and gas meters. Senior Investigator David Atkins recommended fines of $50 for tampering with water meters and $200 for tampering with gas and electric meters.

Board member Bob Hutchinson asked that fines be raised even higher.

“We should put some teeth into the criminal aspect of this problem,” he said. “The public needs to know that if they mess with these meters, they’re going to be penalized. We’re talking about something that could lead to houses being burned down or people losing their lives.”

Atkins, who asked that the board approve a measure that “will hurt enough so they won’t do it,” said the current fine for any meter tampering is only $25. He said he and two other criminal investigators had turned up around 40 cases of tampering this year alone.

The board voted to OK the increases suggested by Atkins and to include information in monthly bills that informed customers that, in addition to the WG&L fines, criminal fines of up to $1,000 and jail time could result from tampering.

Comments

B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

For the shallow-minded, this is just another back door implemented increase in your taxes for the lower wage earners. Even though you were promised no increase in your taxes, it is just called something different = an expense increase "to pay for federally mandated Environmental Compliance Cost Recovery, due mostly to environmental concerns surrounding the use of coal to generate electricity".

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Amazed2 1 year, 11 months ago

You know I can undetstand maybe OK we need to collect but why hit only businesses? Last time I rode around at night I saw lights in neghborhoods and inside houses? Guezz why only charge business?? The reason why is that WGL can't handle the heat and hostility from the public in general so they passed the problem to struggling businesses. Basically the business has to add now collecting money for WGL to its list of things like Obama Care that they will already be raising prices for. Small business is struggling this is just another nail in the coffin and a CopOut by WGL.

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VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

I would love nothing more than for my electric bill to go up $20.00 a month. Geez! I am glad you are not in charge.

Do you not think there are citizens out there struggling? Some can't pay their utilities as it is.

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Amazed2 1 year, 11 months ago

WGL figured that passing the increase only to business streamlines the collection, reduces the public outrage and somewhat kinds of lets the cowards at WGL hide it or try to hide the increase. Basically the general public an all uses og WGL will pay the increase it is just collected kind of at the back door alley so not too many people realize it is happening. If you dont see it on your bill then maybe you wont complain approach.

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RedEric 1 year, 11 months ago

I think this is part of "Cap and Trade". When Dear Leader knowing it wouldn't pass congress gave it to EPA to promulgate. There is a lot of global warming stuff in cap and tax...errrr trade.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

Kind of like the e911 charge. Have any of you thought about how much money that is taking in and where it is going? This will all go towards the fatted calf and I wonder how much Phoebe will be paying. Lee Co's utility bills are very reasonable. Nothing like some of my friends pay in Albany. We do conserve and use lights for years before they changed. But again I wonder if the Ford place has any regrets. They were the fools.

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Thurman 1 year, 11 months ago

"Small business". Does this mean a business which has operates from an actual brick/mortar building or one which operates from one's own home? I, as many others, operate a business from my home. I pay for a business license, and pay taxes quarterly. So this target me as a "small business"? IF I were to rent a very small place in a business strip mall would this target me as a "small business"? Any way we look at this new tax it will not be fair.

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TrixibelleBento 1 year, 11 months ago

Anybody else see the "federally mandated" language in this article? More Obama EPA regulations that will continue to hurt our ability to be successful. Why are there costs due to coal "concerns"? What specifically is being covered by those "concerns"? I'm "concerned" that the more than 5,000 regulations that have gone into effect since the election will tax us all to death. Oh yeah, no taxes are going up for the middle class. I want to put a foot in my TV set every time I see that from our Dear Leader.

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sad_for_albany 1 year, 11 months ago

This is what Obama and the tree huggers want. If you won't reduce your dependence on Coal and Oil, we will make it so you can't afford it. Honestly, the costs should be passed on to everyone. The people need to know where the increased costs are coming from and why. Hiding it in the business is BS. What will WG&L do when all of the businesses close? What about that Lorie and John?

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

What a bunch of baloney. This is when the draw down from the 90 million dollars in the MEAG account should begin. The story reads " . . .expect a rate increase of around $18 a month . . ." the significance of the word "around" is critical. To begin with we know what to expect just a little further along the calendar. Why is the cost of this being shifted to the one economic level that is stabilizing lower wage earning families - the small businesses? The WG&L who ordinarily reasons better isn't reasoning at all here. It is irresponsible. The first order should be to retain whatever is left of the MEAG accounts for the purpose of helping WG&L in such circumstances inuring to the advantage of all subscribers. Otherwise just spread the joy around and let everybody pay their fairshare. What happens with the uber-wealthy accounts that have incredible deep pockets - Phoebe, franchise health services, Miller-Coors, P&G, et. al? The huge number of residential rental units in this town puts a lot of money in just a few folks' pockets. Small businesses should not be penalized and forced to pay their freight or other wealthy entities. Get real. Come up with a better solution specific to this community rather than one size fits all. A lot of small busineses will come down and help you if you can't do the math.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

WG&L should use its annual soiree to the coast to develop plans to find electricity from plants that use natural gas. A cheap and plentiful source of fuel that many production facilities have moved to. If MEAG is the issue then develop a plan to present to them for discussion. Something is not clicking here. I know Obama doesn't want to use fossil fuel (including) for vehicles but I haven't read anywhere where he didn't want it used electricity production.

Sidebar: That's a point that really sticks in my craw about Obama, this country could be far along in multiple-dimensions if he had allowed/promoted the use of natural gas in vehicles: money supply, air quality, jobs, health, international relations. How short sighted.

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alleebrin 1 year, 11 months ago

Very soon people will have to run their households with higher prices and find they have few dollars in their pockets. Bettter get used to it! This country is reaching the realization that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer!! And mark my word, Abummer will use one of his executive priviledges to extend his stay in the White House and thus become the dictator he aspires to be!!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Al, I was with you until you put yourself in the ditch with the dictator bull. Remember the American people are a strong and resilient lot, even today. The patriot you are, you know that.

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Amazed2 1 year, 11 months ago

Obama is a future Chaves. Chaves took power on a ticket to be for the little guy then he little by little installed himself as dictator by taking away peoples rights and nationalizing the country. Just pay attention to what Obama has done and is doing and will be doing. He is slowly setting up a dictatorship.

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Effetecorpseofimpudentsnobs 1 year, 11 months ago

If you think Obama is a handicap, Romney would have been a disaster!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Folks, I am all for free speech but one of the things we have to do in this city is make some seriously focused noise about what is happening to small businesses, small professional offices and startup shops in this community. I am all for P&G and Miller-Coors type enterprises to bring mega jobs with medium range to higher wages. The reality is that right now nobody is going to come to this area for a number of reasons. First is the lack of those large concerns looking for venues for development. The other is the most critical, Albany is no place they want to bring their business and families to because of the schools, governments and anti-business attitude of the governing authorities. The crime, incompetence and waste in the city and county is widely known and reported. The more the principals do the worse it becomes. Business licenses just went up significantly on small enterprises, now comes WG&L assesment against them. We're talking hundreds of dollars here that some how has to be passed along to consumers further disabling small shops' ability to compete with franchise operations, Phoebe facilities and box stores. The insanity of the government principals will eventually result in the total dissipation of secondary level employment for the majority of this town. Think of it, 15,000 property owners in the whole of Dougherty County's population. I give WG&L the most respect of all the public agencies but they need to re-think this one. Apparently they are playing to the cabal of the city commission and that's a pretty bad audience. I know they don't have to stand in front of the people for election but this is a bad decision, a very bad decision.

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LoneCycler 1 year, 11 months ago

This is just the beginning. The president did say "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." Congress would not pass a cap and trade plan so the EPA started issuing rules that accomplish the same thing. Another $18 per month is nothing; just wait until coal plant Scherer has to close.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Coal plants can convert to natural gas. Crisp County Power did that long ago very effectively. My power bill at my Lake Blackshear cottage is always the minimum. I haven't heard that Scherer was closing.

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Amazed2 1 year, 11 months ago

Ladies and Gentlemen to use an old saying "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". The Show is Just Beginning. Obama has been preparing his next level of escalation of Federal takeover of your lives for sometime now. The United States will soon be a Socialist like Country. Obama wants to real in his support base which are those I call "Takers". He want people to be in need of the Federal Government. The more programs he can create the more Votes he buys. He is no different than a heroin dealer except he deals in Free Programs. A drug desler gets you hooked and Obama hooks the needy. He offers no solutions just more programs.

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ZCorp 1 year, 11 months ago

" RAISE BILLS FOR THE WIN " !

(Sarcasm)

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