Georgia News

Georgia Power, PSC staff propose passing $1.2 billion in savings on taxes to customers

ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) - Wednesday Georgia Power and the Public Service Commission staff announced a recommendation for customers to save $1.2 billion as a result of lower corporate taxes that went into effect January 1.

These savings would take place over the next two years. 

In a press release, the president and CEO of Georgia Power, Paul Bowers,said,"We are committed to offering the highest customer value with rates below the national average, and we're pleased to be able to continue to pass the benefits of the new tax laws on to our customers." 

In 2018, customers would be refunded $185 million. Divide that by Georgia Power's residential customers, and it comes down to about $7 a month. In 2019, customers' refunds would equate to about $5 a month. However, it's unclear whether the total amount in refunds would be spread among commercial customers, as well. 

Right now customers have to pay income taxes on the profits that shareholders make on the construction of Plant Vogtle. They would be saving $130 million on those charges over the next two years due to the lower tax rate.

According to a December report from public service commission staff, Georgia Power is expected to make more than five billion in profits because of cost overruns at Vogtle. In response, the Public Service Commission decided to dock the amount of profit the company can earn, beginning with a 1.7 percent decrease that starts in 2020. 

A bill introduced in the Georgia Senate would have stopped the company from collecting any profits after its approved completion date. 

The final bill that passed says the current law that allows a company to collect profit from nuclear construction up front applies to plants approved before 2018.

"It was alot of different I think variables that went into it," said Ga. Sen. Harold Jones, an Augusta Democrat. "So I think now what we're saying is from this point forward, you cannot do it that way unless of course you came back to the general assembly."

The company and staff's recommendation would also set aside $700 to benefit customers in the 2019 rate case. This would mean "substantially lower rates than would have otherwise been beginning in 2020," according to the filing. The PSC will make the final decision on the recommendation.

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