By Brian Lyman. Reprinted from Montgomery Advertiser, Dec. 13, 2016
Alabama Power customers will see their bills go up next month, for increases that the company says will go toward updates and upgrades of existing infrastructure.
Representatives of the utility said at a hearing Tuesday the average residential customer using 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see their bill go up by $6.31 a month, effective Jan. 1.
The PSC, which approved the increase earlier this month, guarantees Alabama Power a rate of return under an arrangement over three decades old, without the public, adversarial process seen in other states. Critics of the rate increase at Tuesday’s meeting said the process was not transparent, and that an independent advocate with access to the data guiding the company’s decisions would be helpful.
Joyce Lanning, a volunteer with the Alabama Environmental Council, said the PSC needed to provide a better mechanism to allow customers to compare Alabama Power’s charges with those in other states. She said after the meeting that the utility “could be perfectly right” about its needs, but that the public would benefit from another set of eyes.
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