APCO seeks increase for fuel costs

Published 11:13 pm Monday, October 6, 2008

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Power Co. is seeking another rate hike on top of higher charges for fuel costs. For the typical homeowner, the two proposed increases could cost more than $15 per month.

The company has asked the Public Service Commission to raise the basic monthly charge for being connected to Alabama Power. For residential customers, the charge would go from $8.91 to $15. Other types of customers would also see an increase.

Alabama Power also wants to levy its first charge for paying bills late. It would be 1.5 percent of the bill, with a minimum of $2.

The PSC announced Monday that it would take up the latest proposals on Tuesday, when it will also consider the electric utility’s previous request for higher rates to cover rising fuel costs.

Alabama Power has proposed increases of 8.24 for residential customers, 9 percent for commercial businesses and 14 percent for industries. The increase would be for Alabama Power to recoup higher costs for coal and natural gas to run its generating plants.

For residential customers, that means an extra $9.30 for 1,000 kilowatt hours each month.

Alabama Power spokesman Michael Sznajderman tied the proposed increase in the basic charge and the proposed late fee to economic conditions.

“Costs are rising for everyone and they are rising for us as well,” he said.

Sznajderman said that unlike most other utilities, Alabama Power has never charged a late fee.

Under Alabama Power’s proposal, some low-income residents receiving Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid would be exempted from the increase in the basic charge.

What happens at the PSC meeting Tuesday will help determine whether Alabama Power files for another rate hike soon.