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One Public Service Commission Puts Excessive Profits before People

More than 5,000 Alabamians asked the PSC to lower their Alabama Power bills, but their requests were ignored.

More than 5,000 Alabamians asked the PSC to lower their Alabama Power bills, but their requests were ignored.

Remember Paula Wood, the retired, single Alabamian struggling to pay her electric bills? While there has been some good news, things in Alabama aren’t looking a whole lot better.

The Mobile Gas decision may have been a step in the right direction, but the PSC put excessive profits before people with this month’s ruling on Alabama Power. 

Effectively, the PSC is playing a shell game with the profits of Alabama Power.  And, Alabamians will continue to pay the price.

If the Public Service Commission lowered Alabama Power’s return on equity to 10% – similar to the action they took with Mobile Gas – the typical Alabama Power customer’s bill would go down by $100 a year.

More than 5,000 AARP members in Alabama contacted the PSC directly to urge the Commission to lower their electric bills.  This decision will do little, if anything, to help seniors like Paula who are struggling to pay their $300 a month electric bill or buy critical medicine and food,

Since nothing related to this decision by the PSC was discussed during the informal hearing process, it highlights the need for greater transparency in the ratemaking process through formal hearings.  AARP Alabama has called on the PSC to release its’ calculations related to the Alabama Power decision and the use of Weighted Equity to the public, along with specifics about what Alabama Power customers will now pay for electricity.

The next company up for review by the PSC is Alabama Gas, with hearings September 5thand 25th, October 9th, and November 13th.  Until then, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Alabama. Stay tuned on Twitter @RoamTheDomes or for news on the ground, @ALAARP.

For more on our multi-state utility campaign, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter, or visit your state web page.