The Alabama Legislature has agreed to end the ability of landline phone customers to call the state's utility regulatory board with service complaints.
The Alabama Senate voted 33-0 Thursday to approve a bill that does away with the Public Service Commission's authority to handle landline phone complaints. The bill passed the House earlier and now goes to the governor for his approval.
Customers might no longer be able to call the state's utility regulatory board to complain about phone service.
A bill moving through the Alabama Legislature would complete the deregulation of home and business phone service by ending the Public Service Commission's ability to handle customer complaints about landlines.
The state's utility regulatory board has refused to reconsider its new rate structure for Alabama Power Co.
The Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to reject a request by AARP to reconsider the rate plan. The vote was the same as the PSC's decision in August to approve the rate structure. The PSC's top attorney recommended rejecting AARP's request and said the organization for older Americans had not presented any new issues.
Alabama Power Co. predicts that its rates will remain level through 2014, despite the forecast of consumer savings when the state's utility regulatory board approved a new rate plan.
The Public Service Commission voted 2-1 last month to revise its rate stabilization plan for Alabama Power. Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh forecast the change would result in annual savings for consumers of $30 to $110.
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.
Mobile Gas is going along with the Alabama Public Service Commission's adjustment to its rate structure, which will allow the new rates to go into effect in December.
The PSC voted in July to lower the range of return on equity for the natural gas utility that serves southwest Alabama. The range had been 13.35 percent to 13.85 percent, and the PSC lowered it to 10.45 percent to 10.95 percent.
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.
Local officials in Mobile County say a study will look at safety concerns with building a proposed oil pipeline near the lake that provides most of Mobile's drinking water.
The pipeline project is on hold for now after the city of Semmes placed a stop-work order on construction. The Alabama Public Service Commission approved the pipeline and Mobile County granted a license agreement in March - though county officials say they were unaware of possible threats to Big Creek Lake.
The state Public Service Commission is starting a review of Alabama Power Co. rates.
The commission holds the first of a series of meetings Wednesday in Montgomery. The commission announced it will have a company overview and discuss the fundamentals of the rate structure on the opening day.
The commission recently wrapped up a similar review of Mobile Gas rates. The commission plans to make a decision about the company's natural gas rates on June 6.
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.
The Alabama Public Service Commission has blocked Commissioner Terry Dunn's request for a formal review of the rate structures for Alabama's three largest investor-owned utilities.
Dunn made a motion Thursday for formal reviews of Alabama Power, Alabama Gas and Mobile Gas, but commissioners Twinkle Cavanaugh and Jeremy Oden said an informal process is the best way to proceed. That will begin later this month with Mobile Gas.