An official with Alabama Power Co. said accounting procedures approved by the state's utility regulatory board will allow rates to remain the same through 2013.
The Public Service Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to allow Alabama Power to spread out some costs over several years, including complying with federal mandates for enhanced security at the Farley Nuclear Plant.
Alabama Power vice president Nick Sellers said that should keep rates flat during the coming year.
A member of the Public Service Commission says hedging agreements on natural gas prices have added nearly $245 million to the bills of Alabama Gas Corp. customers since the state's largest natural gas distributor started the practice in 2003.
PSC member Terry Dunn said Alabama Gas is one of many utilities that used the risk-management strategy and saw it "go very badly in recent years." He said it points to the need for the PSC to re-examine its rules on hedging agreements.