Georgia Power Requests Funding to Support Essential, Critical Investments in Electric Grid Reliability

Staff Report

Monday, June 27th, 2022

Georgia Power today filed a request with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) that would enable the company to continue making investments in strengthening and further securing the electric grid, transforming its power generation to include cleaner and more economical energy resources and continue improving the customer experience.

"We take our responsibility to plan, prepare and make the investments needed to meet our customers' energy needs today, tomorrow and for years to come seriously, and Georgia Power's request to the Georgia Public Service Commission today outlines and supports that focus," said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "As our state continues to grow and the energy landscape rapidly evolves, we recognize and respect our customers' focus on the reliability and resiliency of Georgia's electric system, the expansion of our clean energy resources and Georgia Power's continued ability to safely and reliably meet their energy needs. This request reinforces our commitment to meeting those needs while continuing to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for generations of Georgians."

The request supports Georgia Power's focus on the following:

Strengthening the electric grid through investments in the company's transmission and distribution systems and the continuation of its Grid Investment Plan (GIP) to support customers' long-term reliability and resiliency needs. Many of these investments are required to protect the reliability and resiliency of our electric grid.
Transforming how it makes energy, including the continued transition of the company's power generation to cleaner and more economical resources for customers, including renewables such as solar.
Enhancing operations and improving customer experience through investments in technology that will help enable Georgia Power to continue delivering exceptional service to customers while meeting their evolving energy needs.

If approved, customer rates would increase a total of just under 12% over the next three years, which is lower than the current projected rate of inflation. As outlined in the filing, the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatthours per month would see an increase of $14.32 per month on their bill in 2023, $1.35 per month in 2024 and $0.62 per month in 2025, for a total increase of $16.29 over the three-year period. The company has helped offset the rising cost of doing business through reduced operating costs, managing storm cost recovery and making smart financing decisions.

Strengthening the Electric Grid

Georgia Power is continuously investing in the power grid to make it smarter and more reliable, and today's filing looks to continue those efforts. The company is seeking to build upon its ongoing investments in its transmission and distribution system to further provide safe, reliable and secure electric service to its customers. Over the next three years, the company expects to invest nearly $7 billion more in transmission and distribution improvements, including $2.2 billion in the company's on-going multi-year GIP.

Over the last ten years, Georgia Power has invested nearly $10 billion to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of its network for the benefit of the communities and people it serves. This amount includes approximately $4.9 billion invested in transmission and distribution infrastructure since January 2020 and projected through December 2022, of which $1.5 billion relates to the company's GIP. Examples of critical investments the company has made and look to continue include:

deploying advanced control and monitoring technologies, including additional self-healing distribution networks, to enhance the company's ability to sectionalize parts of the electric grid to isolate issues and reroute power to serve customers;
replacing framing hardware to improve insulation levels and protect equipment; and
enhancing substations, replacing transformers and moving powerlines underground.
These investments have improved reliability, reduced both the number and duration of outages, minimized repair time and contributed to a better customer experience. The investments proposed in this request are a continuation of these enhancements that have increased reliability.

Investing in Renewables and Cleaner Energy Resources

As presented in the company's 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filed earlier this year, Georgia Power is looking to continue transforming how it produces energy, transitioning its power generation fleet to more economical and cleaner generation resources that will produce significant, long-term benefits for customers. The company is deploying new and expanded resources in solar, wind, hydro and energy storage to continue reducing carbon emission. This rate request would support that transformation and the proposed retirement of approximately 3,600 megawatts (MW) of coal- and oil-fired generation by 2028, replacing it with more economical generation and supporting investment in the transmission infrastructure necessary to facilitate the continued growth of renewables and to provide customers access to these lower cost and lower-carbon emitting resources.

To support the transition, Georgia Power will continue serving customers with a diverse, balanced generation fleet of reliable, resilient and economical resources, which includes adding cost-effective renewable resources. Working within the state's constructive regulatory framework, Georgia Power has continued developing renewable resources in a way that benefits customers, positioning the company as a national leader in renewable energy growth. Georgia Power currently has one of the largest voluntary renewable portfolios in the country, with more than 3,100 MW of renewable resources already online and an additional 2,400 MW under development. The company is also planning to double its renewable generation by adding 6,000 MW by 2035, which includes a request for approval of 2,300 MW* in its 2022 IRP. This new capacity would expand the company's renewable resource portfolio to approximately 11,500 MW by 2035.