Consumer Energy Choice In Georgia - By Jim Clarkson
The Georgia Territorial Service Act provides that new customers with a 900 KW or larger connected load may choose their supplier. This has lead to ferocious competition between Georgia Power, the Co-ops and Municipal power distributors in Georgia for new customers. Each utility offers those who qualify for choice their marginal cost prices. In other words, these select customers are exempt from fixed cost recovery of the inflated assets of the offering utility. While power suppliers in Georgia have always been very friendly to new loads, it has been in the last ten years that the competition has driven the price offers down to marginal cost.
The problem is that businesses that established their power arrangements years ago face a competitive disadvantage with newer businesses that have come to Georgia. This problem gets worse over time. Years ago a business faced local competitors with approximately the same power costs. As time goes by, more and more new competitors have access to the special lower cost deals that result from competitive customer choice. The answer, of course, is to open the law to allow all customers a choice of power supplier. This would be a relatively simple change in the Georgia Territorial Law. Given Georgia’s real and perceived problems with the complexities of gas competition, any law change regarding electricity competition must be simple and easy to understand.
Jim Clarkson is President of Resource Supply Management. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, a Masters in Business Administration. Professional Engineering Licenses in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. Class II Electrical Contractor’s License, Conditioned Air Contractor’s License and a Certified Energy Manager, with a strong background in the natural gas and electric industry, providing services to industrial and commercial users, extensive expertise in rate design, cost allocation, risk management, sales contracts and energy saving programs for large energy users.