Public Service Commissioner Doug Everett responded to the Email Action Alert sent out by Americans for Prosperity on solar energy before the PSC.
First, AFP-GA wrote:
At the request of PSC Commissioner Doug Everett to the hundreds of AFP GA members who responded to our Action Alert on solar mandates, in the spirit of fairness, here is his response. Please note that AFPGA is not reversing course on this issue, just honoring a request from an elected official. Feel free to leave your reasoned comments below – no rudeness, please.
Doug Everett responded to the emails he received from AFP-GA members:
Thank you for writing to me, and I want to first of all assure you that my highest priority as a member of the Public Service Commission is ensuring that Georgians have a reliable supply of electricity and gas at the lowest possible rate, and I cast every vote on the Commission with that in mind.
I have stated and will tell you that I will not vote for any solar power projects unless they meet the following criteria:
1. That they will not put upward pressure on rates for consumers or businesses;
2. That they do not create a solar monopoly; and
3. that they do not change the Territorial Services Act, which helps ensure the reliability and affordability of electricity in Georgia. To do away with the territorial act would increase one’s bill dramatically.
I believe that Georgia can integrate some solar power into our electrical systems while maintaining low rates and high reliability. I agree with Governor Deal that those are two of the major factors that help Georgia attract new jobs and I do not intend to vote for anything that would jeopardize Georgia’s competitiveness or the ability of my fellow Georgians to afford the power they need for their homes and businesses.
Some other states have seen dramatic price increases when implementing solar power because they went ahead with projects three or five years ago when solar prices were 70% higher than they are today. Those states are paying the price for being early adopters, while states with more conservative policies like here in Georgia, we waited until prices reached the point where we can say that solar power is price-competitive.
The greatest threat to Georgia’s low energy costs and high reliability are the increasing regulations passed by the Obama Administration EPA in Washington, DC. Just last week, President Obama declared that he will take unprecedented steps to reduce the economic viability of coal, which has long been a major part of Georgia’s energy mix, keeping prices down and reliability high. If solar power is affordable, it will be a tool to continue fighting for low electric rates and high reliability.
Finally, let me reiterate the first point I made about how I will decide on any additions to solar in Georgia: I will not vote for any solar projects that will put upward pressure on rates.
Thank you again for sharing your concerns with me, and please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of any assistance.
Georgia Public Service Commission