Specifically, HB 500 would require the commission to review any EMC contract for the purchase of power that runs longer than five years.
“Georgia’s current statute already requires Public Service Commission review of EMC financing,” said Drenner. “Extending this authority to power purchase agreements just makes sense.”
HB 500 was made necessary by a high-risk, no-bid contract entered into by 11 EMCs. Led by Cobb EMC, the largest cooperative in Georgia, customers at 10 EMCs paid higher electric bills after the companies entered into no-bid agreements to join Power4Georgians. Six EMCs left the consortium after the former CEO of Cobb EMC, Dwight Brown, was indicted on felony charges.
“EMC member-customers lost money and paid unnecessarily high rates in order to fund Power4Georgians,” said Drenner.
“We cannot change what has already happened, but my hope is that PSC oversight would prevent EMC customers from having to pay for similarly questionable agreements in the future.”
Georgia’s 41 EMCs provide power to about half of Georgia’s 9.4 million residents, with Georgia Power Co. serving the other half.
The Public Service Commission has considerable oversight of Georgia Power Co., which allows it to review all rates, charges and service rules.
However, it lacks similar authority for broad oversight of the state’s EMCs, despite the comparable size of their customer base to that of Georgia Power.
Drenner is joined by Reps. Carol Fullerton, D-Albany, Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, and Ernest Smith, D-Augusta, in introducing HB 500.