Statement: Bobby Sigman's new campaign sign: "To lower your light bill elect Sigman mayor."
Verdict - Half True
There are ways the city can lower residents' electricity bills, but nothing comes for free and the sign is disingenuous.
First of all, the mayor does not have a vote, and only the city council can vote to change the electric rate.
While the electricity rate could be lowered, another rate (gas, water, etc.) would either have to be increased or services would have to be cut, said Utility Director Bill Meecham. The city needs to make up that revenue somehow, or it has to cut expenses.
The city contracts to buy the majority of its electricity from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, so much of the cost is set.
Sigman has said he wants to cut the overall city budget by 10 percent. Because some of the profit margin from electricity sales is used to subsidize other departments, cutting the overall budget could allow for a general lowering of the rate.
Again, the council is the body that votes on the budget.
Future prices of electricity are expected to increase, because coal plants are going to have to be upgraded to operate more cleanly under new environmental regulations.
Lastly, much of the cost of electricity depends on how much power each resident uses. Extreme weather is one largely unpredictable factor that can increase costs even if base rates are reduced.