Thousands of people are without power in northern and central Alabama after waves of severe storms crossed the state.
Alabama Power Co. says about 20,100 homes and businesses lost electricity in central and western Alabama as severe weather including tornadoes stuck Monday.
Huntsville Utilities says about 4,200 homes and businesses were in the dark to the north in the Tennessee Valley. Falling trees pulled down electrical lines in areas including Limestone County, where damage was worst and at least two people died.
The state's utility regulatory board has scheduled three public meetings to discuss the rates of Alabama Gas. The Public Service Commission says the first meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at the PSC hearing room in Montgomery. Meetings are also planned for Sept. 25 and Oct. 9.
The PSC previously held hearings on rates for Mobile Gas and Alabama Power Co. Those meetings resulted in changes to the companies' rate structures. PSC members say consumers should see savings with their bills starting January.
Alabama Power Co. is trying to stop what it calls "an unusually effective scam."
The power company says its customers have been called for months by people pretending to be from Alabama Power. The customers are told they have a short deadline to make a payment. They are instructed to go to a local retailer, buy a reloadable debit card for a given amount, and then call another phone number to share the account number on the card. Alabama Power says the fraud has focused on commercial customers because they are more likely to have larger bills.
Two groups have asked a federal agency to reconsider the license renewal for Alabama Power's seven dams on the Coosa River.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Alabama Power's new license last month. The Alabama Rivers Alliance and American Rivers say more study is needed. Alabama Rivers Alliance program director Mitch Reid says the renewal was a bad decision based on bad data. The two groups are being represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Alabama Power is defending its rate structure before the state's utility regulatory board.
Officials of Alabama Power told the Public Service Commission on Wednesday that its rates are below the national average. Officials said the total annual electric bill for the average Alabama home is above the national average because of hot, humid summers and because Alabamians tend to use more electricity and less of other energy sources, such as natural gas and fuel oil, than other Americans.
The state's utility regulatory board has scheduled three meetings focusing on the rates for Alabama Power Co.
The Public Service Commission says the public meetings will be May 8, June 18 and July 17 in Montgomery. Each meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. at the PSC's headquarters. The PSC says the structure of each meeting will be announced later.
The PSC's rate stabilization plan for Alabama Power has provided the state's largest electric utility with a rate of return on common equity of 13 percent to 14.5 percent since 1982.