On July 16, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved a long-range plan for Georgia Power to meet the state’s energy needs over the next 20 years. Every three years, the utility is required to file an Integrated Resource (IRP) and Demand Side Management (DSM) Plan that forecasts how much electricity their customers will need in the future and how they propose to meet the need with a portfolio of supply-side generation facilities and demand-side energy efficiency programs. Georgia Watch intervened in the 2019 IRP to ensure wins we secured for consumers in 2016 and 2013 were upheld. Our efforts protected the interests of residential customers and especially affordable housing residents in the state’s long-range energy plan.
As reported on WABE radio, the plan the Commissioners finally approved after three months of hearings included an increase in renewable sources of power, especially solar, as well as a 15% increase in the Company’s savings targets tied to energy efficiency programs.
“Those of us who want to see clean, affordable energy for the state of Georgia [know] the best way to get there is greater investments in energy efficiency. So this is certainly moving the state in the right direction,” said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch.
Throughout the proceedings, Georgia Watch defended new energy efficiency programs the Company agreed to adopt in the 2016 IRP, that were threatened by their 2019 proposal to limit the Company’s per home spending to help energy-burdened households increase efficiency and reduce electricity bills. Originally, Georgia Power proposed requiring receipt of funds from a donation program in order to cover the costs of some measures a home might need. Through our cross-examination of Company witnesses and the testimony of our witnesses, Charlie Harak of the National Consumer Law Center and Lindsay Robbins of the Natural Resources Defense Council, we were able to convince Georgia Power and the Public Service Commission to keep the 2016 program intact, to increase the amount the Company is contributing to it, and to launch a donation campaign to raise funds to add to the overall budget.
We are grateful to our EEFA-GA Coalition partners, including Southface, Partnership for Southern Equity, and National Housing Trust, who joined us in advocating to expand the availability of high-quality energy efficiency programs serving low- and moderate-income Georgians living in single and multifamily homes!