Georgia Power’s longterm energy plan provides little relief from high bills

Expanding affordable access to rooftop solar would provide real bill relief for struggling Georgia families. (© Jackson Smith)

Georgia Power has filed its latest long-term plan for meeting Georgia’s future energy needs, including plans for coal retirements, but missed the mark on meaningful investments in energy efficiency and affordable rooftop solar programs that would help struggling Georgians with high energy costs.

The filing officially kicks off the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan proceeding, a process that happens once every three years before the Georgia Public Service Commission. SELC plans to intervene in the proceedings on behalf of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and Partnership for Southern Equity.

This is another step away from coal and toward clean energy resources but there’s little in Georgia Power’s plan for folks struggling with high power bills.”

—Senior Attorney Kurt Ebersbach

After hearing from the utility and other intervening parties over the next several months, the commission will issue a final decision on how Georgia Power will meet Georgia’s electricity needs for the next 20 years.

While proceedings in recent years have produced substantial clean energy breakthroughs, including money-saving solar investments that have put Georgia on the map as a solar leader, energy efficiency programs that would help struggling families save on their power bills have been largely ignored.

“This is another step away from coal and toward clean energy resources but there’s little in Georgia Power’s plan for folks struggling with high power bills,” said Kurt Ebersbach, Senior Attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Southern Company says it wants to get to low or no carbon by 2050, and yet it continues to ignore the energy saving measures that are the cheapest path to getting there. Georgia Power’s energy efficiency programs remain shamefully inadequate and its solar offerings do nothing to promote affordable access to rooftop solar—Georgia deserves better.”

“At a time when so many families across Georgia are struggling to stay on top of high bills, we cannot afford to continue down the same path where utility interests dictate our energy future,” said Nathaniel Smith, Chief Equity Officer at Partnership for Southern Equity. “We hope investments in cleaner choices that protect Georgians’ wallets will finally be given the weight they deserve.”

“Looking ahead to such a critical year for energy planning in Georgia, we have a moral obligation to address the impacts of high energy burden on Georgia communities,” said Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light. “At the same time, Georgia has the potential to rise as a regional leader when it comes to our energy choices, generation and use. We would like to see Georgia Power commit to that leadership by prioritizing energy efficiency and solar programs that benefit all customers.”

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