Experts Expose Glaring Flaws in Alabama Power’s Billion Dollar Request
Montgomery, AL—Hearings concluded today before the Alabama Public Service Commission concerning Alabama Power’s petition to add nearly 2.4 gigawatts of new capacity, a proposal that will cost customers at least $1.1 billion.
On behalf of Energy Alabama and Gasp, the Southern Environmental Law Center intervened in the docket to question Alabama Power's lack of evidentiary support to build and buy such a significant amount of new gas resources.
Over the course of three days, 15 expert witnesses provided testimony and responded to questions under cross examination from Alabama Power, SELC and other intervenors concerning the utility’s request to increase its total power-producing capabilities by almost 20%. The utility previously asserted it wouldn’t need new generation sources until 2035.
Energy Alabama and Gasp’s experts exposed significant flaws in Alabama Power’s planning and justification processes. In written and oral testimony, the experts pointed to the utility’s long-standing efforts to build rate base and revenue requirements through excessive, unnecessary, and expensive new generation, all of which will increase costs for customers for decades.
“Alabama Power simply did not produce the evidence it needed to in order to justify such an unprecedented expense,” said Daniel Tait, Chief Operating Officer of Energy Alabama. “Alabama Power wants to write checks that benefit its shareholders, while the rest of us bear all the risks and financial burden even though our electric bills are already among the highest in the nation.”
“Alabama Power’s proposal is inconsistent with its own parent company’s low-to-no carbon pledge, and is the wrong path for Alabamians looking for lower electric bills and a more sustainable grid,” said Michael Hansen, Executive Director of Gasp. “Alabama Power claims it needs more than a billion dollars’ worth of new, mostly fossil fuel generation to address a supposed trend toward extreme cold—this proposal simply doesn’t reflect the world we’re living in and won’t get us to a lower carbon future we urgently need to reach.”
“Alabama Power’s own analysis shows that clean energy is the more affordable alternative, yet it is pushing for a massive amount of new, expensive capacity for which Alabamians will be on the hook for decades,” said SELC staff attorney Christina Andreen Tidwell. “As the utility itself has noted, businesses and customers are increasingly demanding renewable energy—it’s time to listen to Alabamians who want energy decisions that benefit us, not shareholders.”
About Energy Alabama: Energy Alabama is a membership-based non-profit organization accelerating Alabama’s transition to sustainable energy. We accomplish our mission by educating at all levels, informing smart energy policy, building the next generation workforce, and providing technical assistance to deploy more sustainable energy. We believe in sustainable energy for all. energyalabama.org
About Gasp: Gasp is a nonprofit health advocacy organization based in Birmingham, Ala. Our mission is to advice healthy air and environmental justice in the greater-Birmingham area through education, advocacy, and collaboration. We strive to reduce exposure to air pollution, educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality, and encourage community leaders to serve as role models by advocating for clean air and clean energy. Gaspgroup.org
About Southern Environmental Law Center: For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org