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Georgia’s Energy Future by Patty Durand, candidate for the Georgia Public Service Commission

I was pleased to be a speaker at a 2030 Project fundraising event in Athens. There is nothing more important to Georgia’s future than flipping the Georgia legislature blue. That is especially true when it comes to energy: the Georgia Public Service Commission Georgia Public Service Commission has been in Republican control for over 20 years, and they have been a disaster. There are many things a Democratic majority legislature could do to fix the problems there.

The little-known Georgia Public Service Commission is the state agency that regulates electricity and gas. Commissioners are elected every six years by statewide vote, but elections are on hold because a federal judge ruled that Georgia’s method of electing commissioners via statewide voting has disenfranchised Black voters. In 140 years, only one Black person has ever been elected to the commission. Republican leaders are appealing the judge’s ruling.

In the meantime, the all-Republican commission has been delivering incredible profits to Georgia Power, while Georgians pay the 7th highest electric bills in the nation. And it’s about to get worse:

  • On July 31st, Plant Vogtle’s Unit 3 went into commercial operation. At $35 billion Plant Vogtle is the most expensive power plant ever built on earth. It is $18 billion over budget and 7 years late but has delivered over $4 billion in profits to Ga Power just during construction alone.

  • In 2022 Georgia Power disconnected over 240,000 families for inability to pay. 68% of disconnections are people of color. Those numbers will get worse once Plant Vogtle’s costs are added to rates.

Georgia has no climate mitigation plan or renewable energy goals, and systemic abuses I’ve witnessed at the commission is the reason I decided to run for a seat on the commission.

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