The Public Service Commission recently announced Georgia Power's request to lower electricity rates beginning in June - a full month earlier than ratepayers previously anticipated, saving home owners about $8 a month.
Some might call these "savings" paltry in comparison with the $5 billion in rate increases Georgians have paid over the last five years, according to the consumer watch-dog group Georgia Watch.
But Commissioner Chuck Eaton - a candidate for re-election this year - eagerly took credit for the decision to cut rates which was mandatory because of lower fuel costs.
The publicity of the statement and Eaton's grab for credit are equally dubious. Why did Eaton so enthusiastically announce the June rate decrease, yet has rarely - if ever - broadcast the rate increases that have occurred during his tenure?
The answer is simple: This announcement is all about election year politics.
When Eaton championed Georgia Power's reduction of customer bills he was doing nothing but pandering to voters for the upcoming election. Eaton hopes voters will welcome this news, and thank him with re-election support this November.
But, we know what will happen if he's elected again - he'll go right back to providing part-time representation and occasional communication
Whether Eaton acknowledges it or not, he had nothing to do with this rate decrease. Natural gas prices are down all across the country, and Georgia Power has to pass these savings on to customers, because the law prohibits utility companies from making a profit on fuel costs.
The truth is Eaton is not responsible for lowering our electricity bills; more advanced drilling and hydrofracking have just made producing American natural gas cheaper.
We deserve a commissioner who is not only going to fight for consumers, but will make sure customers fully understand when their rates are going up and when they're going down.
Cheaper bills are great, but only announcing rate decreases is far too easy, and politically expedient for Eaton. This kind of selective information is misleading to Georgians.
Many ratepayers are sick and tired of politicians playing games with their wallets. While the cut in rates is a breath of fresh air for struggling Georgia families, we deserve better.
We have a choice this November to either thank Eaton for the small popcorn and box of Goobers families can afford with the extra $8 a month, or we can finally bring some common sense, real leadership and genuine representation back to the Commission - it's time we make the right decision.
Candidate for the Georgia Public Service Commission
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