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View from the Ledge: Bah Humbug
View from the Ledge
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Thanks to the Public Service Commission the citizens of the state just got a Christmas present from Georgia Power: another rate increase.

It would be hard to find a bigger bunch of bohunks than the group making up the PSC. To use a football analogy here during bowl season, if the public is the quarterback and the PSC the offensive line designed to protect us, we would all be in a body cast.

To say this bunch has the backbone of a jellyfish is an insult to the jellyfish. Just once it would be nice to see this group of bought and paid for yahoos demonstrate some courage and say no to a rate increase.

About the closest they have ever come to saying no is to approve an increase a little less than what was being asked for, which is pretty much like Br’er Rabbit asking to not be thrown into the briar patch.

And in a bait and switch worthy of a cheap carnival, the claim this time was the rate increase was needed to help offset cost resulting from mandated environmental requirements.

Part of doing business is to incur costs involved in running the business. The idea of cutting into profits to pay expenses of doing business is apparently unheard of at Georgia Power, and as long as they have the lapdogs at the PSC doing their bidding they can continue to eat from both ends of the buffet table.

And in the most sick and twisted idea ever conceived, Georgia Power can come back and ask for another increase if profits are down. Excuse me?

It’s not like they are losing money. If they decide they are not making as much as they want — and who does — they just go to the PSC and get yet another increase.

Call this the Ghost of Rate Increase Yet to Come. And you better believe it is right around the corner.

It should be noted that when the profits are up we don’t see much in the way of a rate decrease or a refund.

This is not to say there are some rate hikes that are justified and appropriate. Certainly there is nothing wrong with making money and it is not unreasonable for Georgia Power investors to expect to see a profit.

But it is unreasonable to offer lame excuses and continually hammer the public, especially during tough economic times, and demand rate increases to offset the costs of simply doing business.

Investors should expect to see smaller returns when it comes time to building new facilities or meeting operational requirement costs and the public should not automatically be on the hook for these expenses. Unfortunately that has now become the norm.

Dorothy had a cowardly lion, a heartless man of tin, a straw-headed scarecrow and a incompetent boob behind the curtain.

We got the PSC. Dorothy had it better.


Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at