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PUBLIC SERVICE
COMMISSION 101

What is the Public Service Commission?

 

The Public Service Commission regulates the rates charged and the services provided by electricity, gas, and telephone utilities operating in Georgia. They are in charge of our utility bills!

 

The Public Service Commission consists of five commissioners. Each commissioner is elected statewide but they must reside in the district they represent. The commissioners serve staggered six-year terms. 

 

Georgians pay some of the highest electric bills in the nation! The PSC can save us hundreds of dollars on our energy bills by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency programs that can save us money. 

 

What is energy burden?

Energy burden (or utility burden), is the percent of income spent on utility bills (electricity, natural gas, and water). This is an important racial equity issue because this burden is not evenly shared across racial and economic lines.

 

Why do our voices matter?

Georgia’s energy planning process, and Public Service Commission decisions, have been all about what the utilities want - building and profiting from large, expensive, over-budget projects, like Plant Vogtle. Costs are approaching $30 BILLION! Protecting our wallets has not been the priority.

 

We know that Black and Hispanic households, renters, and senior citizens spend a larger portion of their income on home energy costs. Almost THREE times as much as higher income, white households! The Public Service Commission can direct more investment in weatherization, energy efficiency, and clean energy that can reduce this “energy burden” by ~25%.

 

1 in 3 families struggle to pay energy bills and 1 in 5 have skipped basic necessities like food or medicine to pay their utility bill. Utility service disconnections disproportionately harm people of color and older people. We need a Customer Bill of Rights!

 

Climate change is affecting Georgia now! Clean energy can improve our public health and reduce fossil fuel pollution that contributes to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Clean energy technology like rooftop solar can also create new business and job opportunities! The Public Service Commission is blocking that opportunity. 

 

Every time you turn on the lights or plug in your phone to charge, the five people on the Public Service Commission decided where that energy came from and how much you pay for it. It is time for a Public Service Commissioner that will help us lower our high bills, slow climate change, and create jobs with energy efficiency and cleaner, cheaper energy choices.