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.
Republican state Rep. Jeremy Oden of Vinemont has asked Gov. Robert Bentley to appoint him to fill an unexpired term on the state Public Service Commission.
The term of Republican Commissioner Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh opened up Tuesday when she beat Democratic incumbent Lucy Baxley for president of the PSC. Cavanaugh was sworn into office Wednesday, leaving the final two years of her term open.
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.