PSC: Alabama Power rates to remain flat in 2013

PSC: Alabama Power rates to remain flat in 2013 due to accounting change

Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama Power Co. electric rates for businesses and individuals should remain at their current levels through 2013, a company executive said Tuesday.

The announcement came after the state's utility regulatory board, the Public Service Commission, voted unanimously to implement accounting procedures that will allow the state's largest electric utility to spread out some costs over several years. They include federally mandated costs for security of its generating facilities, seismic testing and flood protection at the Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, and some possible pension costs.

Nick Sellers, Alabama Power's vice president for corporate relations, said the utility is also not anticipating any changes in its fuel costs next year.

"Our rates will remain flat in 2013," he said.

PSC member Terry Dunn said the commission has been working with Alabama Power to hold the line on expenses. "Those efforts are paying off," he said.

PSC member Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh said the steady rates will help businesses and homeowners still struggling to recover from the recession. "It's not the time to have any increases," she said.

The vote came on the same day that PSC President Lucy Baxley, a Democrat, and Cavanaugh, a Republican, were opposing each other in the statewide election for a four-year term as president. At the end of the meeting, Cavanaugh, 46, thanked Baxley, 74, for her many years of state service and for being a role model for women.

"I appreciated it," Baxley said later.

Rates