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frastructure development and ramping up spending to retire its coal-fired power plants.

The Southern Environmental Law Center warned the five PSC commissioners that the power company’s customers will struggle with such a steep increase tacked onto household electric bills that now average about $150 a month. Large businesses would incur a 6% increase in rates.

In its petition, the nonprofit Law Center urges the PSC to cut Georgia Power’s rate request and lift the state-approved cap limiting rooftop solar installations offered through the utility’s popular sustainable energy program.

Georgia Power’s rooftop solar program was debated during Thursday’s hearing. The company not only opposes expanding the program but is also proposing adding a $200 rooftop solar connection fee to its customers.

Georgia Power and commissioners have expressed concerns about some solar companies misleading customers with false claims such as free solar and free electricity.

The company has also said that its proposal of rate options better ensures that the non-solar customers aren’t footing the bill for the homes powered by solar panels, according to a report by Georgia Current, a nonprofit publication that covered the hearings.

Several Georgia Power executives and managers testified during the initial rate case hearings in September. Final hearings are scheduled for November 29-30 and December 15, with the case to be decided by the commissioners on December 20.

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