Across the nation, costs for basic goods are higher than ever. From a gallon of milk to a Bulldog’s football ticket, American pockets are hurting. And unfortunately, they won’t be catching any breaks on their electric bills any time soon. In Georgia specifically, residents could see a significant increase on their monthly electricity bills. But what do natural gas rates have to do with it? And why Georgia?
Georgia Gobbles Up Electricity
Georgia is in quite the predicament. They currently use more electricity than they can produce. Georgia simply can’t make enough energy to meet the demand of its homeowners. In the winter and summer months, electricity has to be borrowed from other states when more energy is consumed. In fact, around 11% of Georgia’s energy is acquired from nearby states.
As far as total energy consumed per capita, Georgia uses around 279 million BTU (British Thermal Units.) And with all this energy consumption comes harmful emissions to create it. Georgia is 11th in the nation for total carbon dioxide emissions – releasing 133.2 million metric tons of CO2 pollution back into the atmosphere. It doesn’t help that the state of Georgia does not have a voluntary renewable energy target to combat this either.
And they’re paying a pretty penny for that pollution. The average price of electricity for Georgia homeowners is $13.37 cents/kWh, and the cost is rising.
Why Are Georgia Power Bills Going Up?
Everyone’s paying more for everything these days, energy included. The rising cost of all goods and services are greatly affecting electricity rates.
Not only are things costing more, but Georgians are using more electricity now and the demand for fuel is greater than supply and production. Production is still recovering from Covid-19 pandemic delays. During the pandemic, workers were short staffed and shipping was stalled. High overseas prices of energy also strengthen export demand, causing prices to skyrocket.
Our list could go on, but there are two main reasons electricity bills are increasing for Georgia residents. Those are the rising cost of natural gas rates and the Georgia utility companies’ approved electricity rate increases. Let’s break these two down further:
Natural Gas Rates Rising Affects Us All
You might have seen the gas electricity news about the cost of natural gas rising in 2022. And did you know Georgia’s primary energy source is natural gas? Plus, Georgia’s natural gas rates are also some of the highest in the nation. You may be happy thinking this doesn’t apply to you if your home doesn’t run off of natural gas.
However even if you have electricity through the power company, the rising costs of natural gas will affect you. After all, how do you think your electric company produces the power for the grid that runs through your home? You guessed it. The process involves natural gas at some point. Electric utility companies are the state of Georgia’s biggest fuel consumers. And if it is costing them more to make your electricity, you can bet they will pass that cost along to the consumer, instead of absorbing it themselves.
If you are one of the 2 in 5 Georgia households who rely on natural gas for heating, you may already be used to paying a lot. You’re paying nearly 50% more than the U.S. average for Georgia natural gas rates per month. But believe it or not, your rates could go even higher in 2022.
On top of this, in Georgia specifically, state regulators have approved additional electricity rate increases.
Georgia Power Rate Increases
The most popular utility company in the state of Georgia, Georgia Power, was granted a rate increase that will begin in January. This combined with their additional proposed increase means that the 2.6 million Georgia Power customers could incur more than $600 million in extra costs. Electricity bills for residential customers in Georgia are projected to rise a whopping $125 a year. Even businesses (who typically pay a lower rate) will see their electric bills rise after an already-tough year for them.
Approved Rate Increases in Georgia
$157 million in rate increases are already approved to go into effect January 1, 2022. This was supposed to be the final piece to the puzzle of a three year approved rate increase. But Georgia Power still doesn’t seem satisfied with stopping there. Additional increases in the pipeline include covering costs to expand their nuclear plants and a “fuel cost rider” increase.
Expanding Nuclear Plants
Georgia Power’s nuclear plant, Plant Vogtle, has proven to be a nightmare of a project for the company. It’s over budget and way behind schedule, and they’ve already gotten away with making customers pay for it for years.
Georgia Power has proposed to tack onto their customer’s base rate even more construction expenses for this plant.
“Fuel Cost Rider” Increase
Georgia Power has asked for permission to increase customer’s monthly bills through what’s called a “fuel cost rider.” This is a designation that allows them to have customers cover the increase in the cost of natural gas, coal and nuclear fuel to generate power. If approved, beginning January 1, 2022, this would raise customer rates by more than $250 million annually.
Georgia Power’s rates are already higher than the average rates for the state, yet they’re moving to increase them again and again.
It All Adds Up
These add-ons to bills might seem small, but it makes a big difference on homeowners’ total electricity costs. Here are the estimated costs that Georgia Power has provided for their rate increases for an average household:
+ $2.87 a month for the overall electricity rate increase (already approved)
+ $3.78 a month for Plant Vogtle construction (proposed)
+ $3.81 a month for Fuel Cost Rider increases (proposed)
Georgia residents’ electricity bills may increase as much as $10.46 a month or $125.52 a year.
How Can I Lower My Electricity Bill In Georgia?
The answer here is simple: go solar so you don’t have to rely on your utility company for all your power. There’s a way you can generate your own. A home solar panel system means more energy independence for you and your family. The electricity grid is becoming increasingly unreliable, with the potential to fail at any time to weather and blackouts. And they’re doing their best to make electricity near unaffordable for you, while keeping their profits protected.
Solar Panels in Georgia
ADT Solar is a trusted solar panel installer in Georgia. From Atlanta to Savannah, we have a solid reputation of providing quality services and home energy solutions. We use cutting edge Q Cells solar panels that efficiently generate powerful, renewable energy for your home.
Are solar panels worth it in Georgia? Absolutely. With the ample amount of sunny days down South and the ever-increasing electricity rates, it’s definitely worth it to switch to solar in Georgia. If you’re considering an alternative energy solution, let us walk you through what that could look like for your home. Our experts can evaluate if your home qualifies for solar panels, what that cost might look like, and what local and financial incentives could bring your price further down.
Does Georgia have Solar Incentives?
Yes, Georgia has local financial incentives of their own. But the most lucrative financial incentive continues to be the Federal Solar Tax Credit, or ITC.
The newly increased 30% tax credit makes going solar even more affordable for Georgians looking to harvest clean energy on their rooftops.*
Read here for additional information on Georgia solar panel incentives.
If you’re ready to say, enough is enough, to increasing Georgia natural gas rates and electric bills – start capturing the sun for your own energy! We look forward to hearing from you!
*Tax and credits or incentives including those provided by federal, state, or local governments may change or end. This can impact the amount of money you might save. Consult a tax professional to understand any tax liability or eligibility for any tax credits that may result from the purchase of your solar system.
If you have taxable income and own the system, you may qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC). It is your responsibility to determine your eligibility and to apply. Consult a qualified tax professional for assistance and details.