Keep the Lights On Athens
Georgia Power begins Disconnections
On July 15th, 2020 Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light began utility disconnections, which had been paused in response to the burden that COVID-19 placed on customers, and in an effort to encourage people to stay home. In spite of ongoing economic and social disruption and spiking cases throughout Georgia, the Public Service Commission voted to end the moratorium on disconnections they had put in place in March. Customers who have been unable to pay their bills during the past three months of pandemic-related upheaval may be subject to disconnections beginning this week.
Customers facing disconnection are told by utility companies to make a plan to repay their electric bills within six months. There is a link on the Georgia Power website where people can make an installment payment plan. Atlanta Gas Light customers are directed to energy assistance programs on the AGL website.
Help for Athens Residents
There are several organizations in Athens that are helping people pay their bills. If you or someone you know are facing utility disconnections, please contact one of these groups. Many of these groups are also accepting donations as they work to provide immediate assistance to the many Athens households in need at this time.
What We Believe
100% Athens believes that all residents of Athens deserve access to the basic health, safety, and comfort of reliable electricity services. Cutting off a household’s electricity in the middle of a Georgia summer is inhumane at any time, but it is particularly dangerous during a pandemic. Athens continues to face high unemployment and uncertainty about the possibility of a return to normal economic activity, while facing daily increases in COVID-19 cases. This policy burdens rate-payers when many are already struggling to pay rent and keep food on the table, while working to maintain safety and health at home for children and vulnerable family members. Meanwhile, Georgia Power’s parent company, The Southern Company, reported $868 million in earnings during the first quarter of 2020. The decision to begin disconnections at this time reflects that the priorities of the utility and state regulators lie with shareholder profits, not residents’ health and safety.
Join the Movement for Just, Equitable Energy Policies
100% Athens encourages Athens residents to engage with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC). This elected body has the final say over rate increases and other policies that affect utility bills and electricity generation. There are frequent opportunities for public comment and input at PSC meetings, and we invite residents to join us in speaking out for a just, equitable transition to clean and renewable energy. Two PSC seats are up for vote this November. Please follow us on Facebook or sign up for our email list to stay informed: www.100percentathens.org, https://www.facebook.com/100athens.
We also encourage Athens residents to follow the Partnership for Southern Equity, a state-wide organization working on justice in energy policy.