State energy regulators OK Georgia Power plan to boost generating capacity


ATLANTA – The state Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request by Georgia Power Tuesday for a huge increase in electrical generating capacity power utility executives said is needed to meet the growing demands of large industrial customers.

The additional capacity will come from a variety of sources, including battery storage and other forms of renewable energy but also from boosting Georgia Power’s investment in fossil fuels.

During several rounds of hearings on the request, the company pledged the plan would save the average residential customer $2.89 a month from 2026 through 2028. But an agreement Georgia Power reached with the commission’s Public Interest Advocacy Staff last month contains no guarantee the company won’t seek to raise rates when it submits its 2025 rate case this winter.

“The stipulated agreement benefits all customers,” said Alan Abramovitz, Georgia Power’s chief financial officer. “Approval of this agreement will preserve and protect the reliability and quality of electric service our customers expect and supports the continued economic development of our state – all while placing downward pressure on rates for all customers.”

Some environmental and consumer advocacy groups signed off on the agreement. But others pushed back against Georgia Power’s plan to supply some of the additional generating capacity by building three gas and oil-fired turbines at Plant Yates near Newnan and entering power purchasing agreements for oil and gas from Mississippi Power – a sister company of Georgia Power – and Florida-based Santa Rosa Energy Center LLC.

“Georgia Power is … not concerned about moving Georgia to a clean-energy economy, let alone protecting the health of Georgians who live in and around these fossil fuel power plants and the billions who will suffer the dangerous impacts of higher temperature that are already costing Americans some $150 billion in damages annually,” said Kim Scott, executive director of Georgia WAND.

Opponents and some commissioners also cited a series of rate increases the PSC has approved for Georgia Power since the beginning of last year that have driven up monthly bills by more than 50%.

“Our ratepayers cannot continue to see rate hikes,” said Commissioner Fitz Johnson. “The ratepayers are weary. This commissioner is very concerned about the rate hikes.”

Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald made a motion Tuesday to delay the certification of the Plant Yates gas project until no earlier than mid-November. By then, the presidential election would have come and gone, and the future of national energy policy would have become clearer. However, none of the other four commissioners supported the motion.

Georgia Power’s plan then passed 4-1, with McDonald voting “present.”