Alabama Power seeks to raise rates

Published 10:46 pm Monday, December 11, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper – special to the standard
Alabama Power to seek rate increase Alabama Power Co. plans to increase its rates 5.29 percent on Jan. 1, if the Public Service Commission approves the request at its Tuesday meeting.
&#8220We are still very competitive on the national level,” Alabama Power spokesman Bernie Folgarty said. &#8220We remain 15 to 17 percent below the national average.”
The increase would cost an extra $5.19 cents monthly for the average residential customer using about 1,000 kilowatt hours, power company spokesman Michael Sznajderman said.
In the past, the PSC has approved three rate increases for the utility, including an environmental surcharge, for a total of nearly 12 percent.
Sznajderman said 4.76 percent of the Jan. 1 increase goes for routine increases in the cost of doing business. The remaining 0.53 percent will pay for improvements at power plants to meet environmental regulations.
&#8220No particular monies are going to come directly to Atmore,” Folgarty said regarding the increase. &#8220A big bulk of it will go to the power plants and the upgrades needed there. We do however pay taxes within the city limits and police jurisdiction.”
Sznajderman said inflation, personnel costs, equipment and maintenance will cost more next year, Sznajderman said.
The PSC could object to the increase if it's not justified by costs or other financial figures the utility is required to show. To justify the environmental surcharge, the utility must also show evidence of projects it is planning or has under way.
The general rate increase is expected to bring in $193 million in 2007. The environmental surcharge would give the company an additional $23 million.
Both will go into effect Jan. 1 if the commission does not object.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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