Dear <<First Name>>,

That’s one of the most recognizable movie lines in U.S. history, spoken by Rhett Butler in the movie Gone with the Wind. And it describes our Public Service Commission’s behavior toward the public perfectly.

I want you to think about that line as you consider the behavior of the elected commissioners on the Georgia Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates energy. Because frankly, they don’t give a damn. They’ve made that clear.

Case in point: at next week’s hearings on Ga Power’s $2.9B rate increase request, Commission Chair Pridemore and Commissioner Echols have decided to prohibit the public from attending public hearings next Tuesday through Thursday. At a public agency. Paid for with public dollars.

This is a clear violation of the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

Earlier this year, commissioners removed an entire row of chairs under the guise of Covid precautions to make it difficult for many people to attend. Now they’ve decided no people can attend. The chairs remain missing.

Other evidence of not giving a damn:

Past commissioners anticipated large public turnouts for electric rate increases and got a larger room to accommodate everyone. Not this commission.

Past commissioners held hearings all across the state since Ga Power territory covers the state and not just Atlanta. This helped people in other areas attend hearings. Not this commission.

Armed Georgia State Police are in attendance, signaling that you are subject to arrest if you do anything they don’t like. That might include wearing costumes, bringing signs, speaking truths they don’t want to hear, and now even remaining in the hearing room during public hearings.

Besides sharing my home address between themselves to redraw the districts around me and try to disqualify us from the election, (which failed) Echols and Pridemore have shown a consistent and strong disrespect towards the public. Don’t listen to what they say. Watch what they do. Their message is clear: they don’t give a damn.

When Echols and Pridemore go home to their families, their neighbors, and their churches, they don’t hear from Ga Power customers who might want to talk to them about their high bills. Why? Because:

Echols and Pridemore don’t pay Ga Power bills. Pridemore pays her electric bills to Cobb EMC which would never allow non-Cobb EMC residents to run their company. Echols pays his electric bills to Jackson EMC which would never allow non-Jackson EMC residents to run their company. Yet we Ga Power customers have all 5 commissioners running our electric utility who are EMC members.

They vote to raise your bills. Not theirs.

Here is what you need to know about next week:

Ga. Power’s $2.9 billion rate request hearings run from Tuesday 9/27 to Thursday 9/29. The agenda, zoom link, and filing information can be found here.

Georgia Power’s $2.9B rate request is by far the largest in the nation. This follows on the heels of their $1.8B 2019 rate request. Why is Ga Power wanting so much money? To pay for the fiasco that is Plant Vogtle, the most expensive power plant ever built on Earth. Ga Power residential electric bills will go up 12% in 2023-2024 if this is approved. They already went up 11% in 2020-2021 after the 2019 rate increases were approved.

In 4 years, our Ga Power bills will go up 23% TOTAL from these two rate increases.

Georgia Power’s ROE, (return on equity) which is the profits they earn by building things, is by far the highest in the nation. They are requesting an outrageous 11% ROE that’s not justified by economic conditions. No other utility comes close to the levels of profits the Ga PSC gives Georgia Power.

Plant Vogtle Unit 3 will come into commercial operation in Q1 2023. That will quickly raise bills another 10%. 33% TOTAL so far.

Plant Vogtle Unit 4 will come into commercial operation in Q4 2023 (but who knows? This is their 8th try at in-service estimate). That will quickly raise bills another 12-15%. 45-48% TOTAL so far.

Fuel cost surcharges: uncollected costs from volatile and expensive natural gas, which Ga Power wants to build more of (that rich ROE – yum!) are now at $1.2B. Georgia Power customers will be wacked pretty hard when that gets put into our bills: another 2% or more.

That’s a 50% TOTAL bill increase in just 4 years. That’s CRAZY.

If they can just keep these rate increases on the down-low by keeping the public out, then the Ga Power Service Commission (oops – Ga Public Service Commission) can deliver billions of dollars to Ga Power from our wallets and purses and keep themselves out of trouble for the Plant Vogtle fiasco.

Solution to all of this?

Better media coverage: few people know about these issues. If you have media contacts, ask them to cover the Ga PSC blocking public attendance and the huge rate increases.

Better public awareness. Thank you for reading this. Please share with others!

Challenge this violation of the Georgia Open Meetings law through legal action.

Help me defeat Echols in 2023 when next PSC election is held.

Help defeat Pridemore in 2024. Her disrespect for the public is stunning.