Tag Archives: Public Service Commission

Please deny Georgia Power rate, signal get on with renewable energy –WWALS to GA-PSC 2019-11-05

Testimony sent as PDF yesterday, for the Georgia Power rate hike Public Hearings continuing today at GA-PSC.

[2016 Peak Day Marginal Costs]
2016 Peak Day Marginal Costs


November 5, 2019

To:

Jason Shaw, Commissioner, District 1

Georgia Public Service Commission

244 Washington Street, SW

Atlanta GA, 30334-9052

jshaw@psc.ga.gov

Re: Docket 42516 Georgia Power Company’s 2019 Rate Case

Commissioner Shaw,

It was good to meet with you Thursday.

I have not met anyone unaffiliated with the electric power industry who supports a rate hike for Georgia Power, especially not a mandatory connection fee. Many people around here are already struggling to balance electric bills, grocery bills, and gas bills. A mandatory connection fee would most greatly affect those least able to afford it. Despite Georgia Power’s arguments, the beneficiaries of such a rate hike would not be its customers, rather its investors, following a playbook spelled out by the electric utility industry think tank Edison Electricity Institute back in 2013.

I urge the Georgia Public Service Commission to reject Georgia Power’s request for a connection fee raise, or at the least to make it as minimal as possible. Georgia Power as a regulated public utility should be “A Citizen Wherever We Serve,” not an agent for its investors to get more profit at the expense of its customers.

[Urge reject connection fee raise]
Urge reject connection fee raise

It is not surprising that Georgia Power is in need of funds, due to Southern Company’s failing Big Bet on Continue reading

AGL pipeline explosion settlement deferred again by GA-PSC for state-wide safety: needs to add LNG 2019-09-19

For more time to examine where gas detectors are needed throughout the state, GA-PSC has again deferred voting on the AGL settlement. As Commissioner Jason Shaw said at the first deferral Tuesday, they want to “make sure that all across the state we can make sure that this type of equipment…” is available.

Plus GA-PSC should take a hard look at AGL subsidiary Pivotal LNG’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities and truck and train routes from them to Jacksonville, Florida, especially since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has shirked its oversight duties for inland LNG facilities.

AGL pipeline map, Georgia
Georgia, AGL Pipeline Map, in Homerville, GA pipeline explosion, by John S. Quarterman, 17 August 2018

AGL has pipelines all over the state of Georgia. I don’t know any reason to believe any of them are any safer than the one that goes from my property in Lowndes County to Homerville in Clinch County (and to Moody Air Force Base, to parts of Valdosta, to Ray City in Berrien County, and to Lakeland in Lanier County).

The map above is the newest I could find online. It was last updated in 2008, more than a decade ago. No doubt AGL can provide the PSC with more current mapping data. Maybe the PSC could require AGL to provide an updated map to the public.

The Public Map Viewer by the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA) is no help: it does not include AGL’s distribution pipelines such as the one to Homerville.

PHMSA was sufficiently concerned about the Homerville Coffee Corner explosion that it wrote on AGL’s report to PHMSA: Continue reading

Make sure we have an adequate amount for departments all across the state in AGL settlement –GA-PSC Commissioner Jason Shaw 2019-09-17

Deferred: the AGL gas explosion settlement agreement, to be sure enough county fire departments are covered, and there is “an adequate amount” to do that. Maybe now Lowndes County and Berrien County and Ray City can be added to the list of departments to get gas detection equipment. No doubt AGL will be happy to provide more funds to accomplish this prevention of explosions such as happened last fall in Homerville, GA.

[Commissioner Jason Shaw]
Commissioner Jason Shaw

Thanks to Commissioner Jason Shaw for speaking up for the people of the state of Georgia at this morning’s GA-PSC meeting.

I would like to hold item R1. I think there are some questions.

Continue reading

AGL pipeline explosion settlement down to 10% on GA-PSC agenda tomorrow morning 2019-09-16 2019-09-17

Update 2019-09-17: Decision deferred for questions.

AGL has whittled GA-PSC staff’s recommended fine of $2,305,000.00 down to $250,000, on the theory that prevention is the goal, not punishment. This item is on GA-PSC’s agenda for 9AM tomorrow morning, September 16 17, 2019. There will be live stream of audio.

[5701 Quarterman Road]
AGL President Bryan Batson (in green shirt) at 5701 Quarterman Road, Lowndes County, Georgia

$110,000 of the settlement is to go to fire departments for gas detectors, plus $70,000 on water and sewer damage prevention educational programs, and $70,000 to the Georgia Pipeline Emergency Responder Initiative (GPERI). At least that $250,000 is 25 times the usual fine. And despite the usual disclaimers of no admission of fault, etc., there is this:

The stipulation states that AGL cannot recover any of the $250,000.00 through rates or by ratepayers. Additionally, if AGLC receives any tax benefits as a result of utilizing the money, all benefits must be passed on to ratepayers.

When Tom Krause, Public Information Office, GA-PSC, sent me these documents about noon today, he added:

As I said, the PSC is continuing investigations into the contractor and the City of Homerville regarding this incident.

Plus there are quite likely private lawsuits still pending.

GA-PSC composed “a list of the 85 fire departments within AGLC’s certificated territory that could receive the gas detectors.”

[Fire Department List Homerville AGL]
Fire Department List Homerville AGL
PDF

Curiously, while Hahira is on that list, Lowndes County is not, even though Continue reading

WCTV on AGL pipeline Homerville coffee shop explosion and proposed GA-PSC fines 2019-04-04

How about some accountability for regulations already in place, starting with legally-required corporate policies and procedures?

Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, State: Gas company failures led up to Homerville explosion,

[Empty lot]
WCTV’s Emma Wheeler reporting from the empty lot where Coffee Corner used to be in Homverville, GA

The Public Service Commission is proposing a civil penalty of $2.3 million against Atlanta Gas Light for the violations.

[GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas]
GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman lives near the start of the pipeline. He said he was horrified by the report, and fears that this could happen anywhere along its path.

[

Continue reading

AGL could face millions for blast 2019-04-03

On the front page of the newspaper of record in the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, yesterday in the Valdosta Daily Times, is a story by Terry Richards about the GA-PSC report on the AGL pipeline and the August 2018 Homerville, GA explosion that destroyed a coffeeshop and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

[Front Page]

The VDT did a bit of reporting by contacting AGL and its contractor: Continue reading

GA-PSC report on AGL pipeline and Homerville August 2017 2018 explosion 2019-03-29

Update 2019-04-04: Actually the gas did go through a sewer pipe; AGL didn’t locate or mark that pipe, either. And the GA-PSC report was on the front page yesterday of the newspaper of the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Maybe the gas didn’t go up a sewer pipe to the coffee shop after all. And in its long-awaited report, Pipeline Safety at the Georgia Public Service Commission is not letting AGL hand the blame to its contractors. This recommended fine does not look like the previous slap on the wrist.

[Filed]

GA-PSC says AGL failed to locate and mark its pipeline in use and failed to locate “their abandoned natural gas facility at 107 Courtland Ave.,” which is the address of the Coffee Corner which blew up in August 2017 2018 and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

The report gets worse:

PROBABLE VIOLATION: AGLC failed to consider the use of a valve to stop the flow of gas, or to check the surrounding buildings and confined areas, during the response to this incident, as required by their procedures.

But those are just in the first two items, which only got a $15,000 recommended fine each. The same $15,000 level of fine is recommended for AGL’s failures to test its personnel for drug or alcohol after the incident.

The big item, with a $2,245,000 fine, is for AGL failing Continue reading

Four months later, GA-PSC still investigating AGL pipeline Homervile explosion 2018-12-11

Two more months have passed, so I called Bill Edge to ask about progress on the GA-PSC’s investigation of the August 17, 2018, Homerville coffeeshop explosion resulting from AGL pipeline gas. Answer: still investigating, because so many parties are involved, and everyone has attorneys and disclosures to negotiate. He is quite aware many people would like to see a report.

I thanked him sincerely for his organization following up on this incident. He said it was their statutory duty. I said keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, here’s an example of the type of thing to expect:

Alleged Violation and Voluntary Contribution, Settlement Agreement

Whereas, AGL enters into this Settlement Agreement without admitting Continue reading

Pipeline Safety investigation of Homerville Explosion by GA-PSC 2018-11-05

What happened since the August 17th Homerville, GA coffee shop explosion resulting from a leak from an AGL natural gas pipeline, reported as far away as New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia? The three women airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida got skin grafts and are recovering, according to occasional updates by one of them on facebook. Let’s all be thankful for their continued recovery.

The Georgia Public Service Commission is investigating the explosion, which may be a good thing, considering this is what the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) knows about that AGL pipeline in Clinch County:

Map, Clinch County, Georgia, NPMS
PHMSA NPMS Public Viewer, Clinch County, Georgia, accessed 2018-11-05.

That’s right: PHMSA still doesn’t even show that pipeline exists, there’s no incident displayed, and apparently PHMSA’s map viewer no longer can even talk to google maps correctly.

Terry Richards, Valdosta Daily Times, 29 August 2018, PSC probing Homerville explosion, Continue reading

TECO joins Duke and FPL building solar in Florida 2018-10-29

Solar in Florida is not just for Duke and FPL anymore: Tampa Electric is building 260 megawatt hours of solar power, and the Florida PSC and Office of Public Counsel are praising it for reducing coal and natural gas burning. Even FPSC, which approved the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline boondoggle only five years ago, is starting to look up and see the sun in the Sunshine State.

Michael Moline, FloridaPolitics.com, 29 October 2018, Tampa Electric wins PSC clearance for solar power projects,

Tampa Electric solar projects

The Public Service Commission approved a deal Monday that allows Tampa Electric Co. to build five solar-generating plants and pass along the $46 million tab to its ratepayers.

Note that’s million with a letter m, not like the billions FPL is charging its customers for Sabal Trail. Continue reading