Georgia Power investing billions in Georgia's energy future; requests funding for grid improvements, storm restoration, environmental programs
Company is also requesting to expand customer rate plans and enhance payment options
Company continues to invest in diverse energy resources to deliver clean, safe, reliable energy at rates that are 16% below the national average
ATLANTA, June 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power today filed a request with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to increase customer rates by approximately 7% in 2020 to enable the company to continue making investments in Georgia's energy future. In the filing, the company highlights nearly $18 billion in recent and future investments being made to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the state's electrical system and to comply with federal regulations. The company is also requesting to rebuild its storm restoration fund after more than 50 severe weather events have impacted its network in recent years, including historic storms such as Hurricanes Michael, Irma, and Matthew, and Ice Storm Pax. The filing also details costs of the company's environmental compliance programs, including efforts to help protect air and water quality. Additionally, the company is seeking to extend and expand its current suite of rate plans and enhance its payment options, including continuing to offer the low-income senior citizen discount, adding a Pay-by-Day rate plan and eliminating certain fees.
As outlined in the filing, the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would see an increase of $9.78 per month on their bill. A final decision by the PSC is expected in December.
For nearly 30 years, the company's rates have increased less than the rate of inflation and customers pay less today, and will pay less after the requested increase, than they paid in 1990 on an inflation-adjusted basis. Georgia Power's prices are 16% below the national average and residential customers currently pay less than $1 more per month today than they did in 2011. Georgia Power has not had a rate case filing in the last six years.
Georgia Power's investments include:
Infrastructure – Since 2013, Georgia Power has invested more than $4.1 billion in expanding transmission and distribution infrastructure, strengthening the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid, and plans to invest an additional $1.3 billion in a grid investment plan over the next three years. The company has worked to replace aging transmission assets and deploy automation technologies across the grid to reduce outage time. A few examples of this investment include:
Future investments through the company's Grid Investment Plan include rebuilding 380 substations, 1,000 miles of wire and 800 distribution feeders, commonly referred to as circuits, to continue strengthening transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Storm restoration – Georgia Power is seeking to rebuild its storm restoration fund after more than 50 severe weather events, including multiple historic storms, impacted the company's network and more than 1.5 million customers over the last six years. These storms not only depleted the storm restoration fund but they also created an additional $450 million in restoration costs not currently covered in rates. The most significant included Hurricane Michael (2018), Hurricane Irma (2017), Hurricane Matthew (2016) and Ice Storm Pax (2014).
Environmental programs – Since 2013, Georgia Power has invested more than $2 billion in environmental compliance programs to meet state and federal environmental requirements.
Rate Plans and Options
Today, the company currently offers six residential rate plans, including Smart Usage, FlatBill®, Plug-In Electric Vehicle, Nights & Weekends, PrePay and the traditional Residential Service plan. Customers also have options when it comes to paying their bills, including paying online or through the company's mobile app, at one of 4,000 authorized payment locations, over the phone, by mail or by setting up auto pay.
Providing customers a range of payment options has contributed to Georgia Power's consistent recognition by J.D. Power since 2013 for excellence in customer satisfaction, ranking number one in the Electric Utility Customer Satisfaction annual rankings for both Business and Residential customers for large utilities in the South.
For more on the company's current rate plans and payment options, visit georgiapower.com/residential.
Income-Qualified Assistance Programs
Maintaining a Diverse Energy Mix
The company will continue to invest in a diverse mix of energy resources, including renewable energy. Working with the PSC, the company has diversified its portfolio through the development of renewable resources in a way that benefits all customers and has positioned the company as a national leader in solar and renewable energy growth. Georgia Power currently has one of the largest voluntary renewable portfolios in the country with more than 1,500 megawatts (MW)* of renewable resources online and an additional 1,600 MW* under development. Combined with the renewable programs requested through the 2019 IRP, and subject to PSC approval, Georgia Power plans to have more than 4,750 MW* of renewable energy resources in its portfolio by the end of 2024.
The 2019 IRP proposes energy efficiency targets similar to those approved in previous IRPs, while adding new, innovative energy-saving programs for both residential and commercial customers. By 2022, these programs, along with existing demand response programs, are designed to help reduce peak demand approximately 1,600 MW, which is 10% of the company's current peak demand
Georgia Power is also seeking approval through the IRP process to own and operate 80 MW of battery energy storage systems, which are critical to maximizing the value of renewable energy resources. The company seeks this opportunity to demonstrate the deployment, integration, operation and grid optimization of storage to gain valuable insight into how to maximize the value of storage for customers.
The PSC is expected to vote on the company's IRP request on July 16.
* REC Disclaimer: Georgia Power purchases only the null energy output from some renewable generating facilities that have contracted to sell that energy to Georgia Power. Ownership of the associated renewable energy credits (RECs) is specified in each respective power purchase agreement. The party that owns the RECs retains the right to use them.
About Georgia Power
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements-
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning Georgia Power's 2019 base rate case and its impact on customers, future capital investments, environmental compliance plans, expected renewable energy capacity and future energy demand. Georgia Power cautions that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and subsequent securities filings could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms and Georgia Power's 2019 base rate case; the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including tax and environmental laws and regulations and other laws and regulations to which Georgia Power is subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; the extent and timing of costs and legal requirements related to coal combustion residuals; current and future litigation or regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries; the effects, extent and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Georgia Power operates, including from the development and deployment of alternative energy sources; variations in demand for electricity; available sources and costs of fuels; effects of inflation; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction and operation of facilities, to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses (including satisfaction of Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements) and to satisfy any environmental performance standards; investment performance of the employee and retiree benefit plans and the nuclear decommissioning trust funds; advances in technology; the ability to successfully operate Georgia Power's generating, transmission and distribution facilities and the successful performance of necessary corporate functions; the inherent risks involved in operating and constructing nuclear generating facilities; the ability of counterparties of Georgia Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the direct or indirect effect on Georgia Power's business resulting from cyber intrusion or physical attacks and the threat of physical attacks; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; access to capital markets and other financing sources; changes in Georgia Power's credit ratings; the ability of Georgia Power to obtain additional generating capacity (or sell excess generating capacity) at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on Georgia Power's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating resources; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies. Georgia Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
SOURCE Georgia Power
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