Two former candidates for Place 2 on the Alabama Public Service Commission have endorsed former Greene County Commission Chairman Chip Beeker in the Republican runoff July 15.
The primary election June 3 put Beeker in a runoff with incumbent Commissioner Terry Dunn.
Birmingham businessman Jonathan Barbee, who finished third, and Alabama Minority GOP Chairman Phillip Brown of Birmingham, who finished fourth, say they are throwing their support to Beeker. Barbee called Beeker the only remaining candidate who can effectively fight a radical environmental agenda.
Republican Public Service Commission member Terry Dunn has formally kicked off his re-election campaign after drawing three opponents.
Dunn announced Tuesday that he will run on a record of telling the public about the PSC being too cozy with the utilities it regulates.
He also says he'll keep pushing for a formal rate hearing for Alabama Power. He predicts that a change in Alabama Power's rate structure that was recently approved by the other two commissioners will not bring an appreciable decrease in rates.
Alabama's utility regulatory board has approved a new rate plan for Alabama Power Co., but commissioners disagree on how it will affect customers.
The state Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to base Alabama Power's rates on weighted cost of equity, rather than return on equity, which has been used for the last 31 years.
PSC President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh says customers should see annual savings between $30 and $110, depending on their usage. Commissioner Jeremy Oden says residential customers and small businesses should save between $30 and $45 a 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.
More than 2,300 Alabama businesses are getting savings from special electric rates that the state's utility regulatory board approved last year to encourage an economic recovery. The Public Service Commission worked with Alabama Power last summer to institute the rates to encourage economic growth. So far, the savings total nearly $850,000. Most of the participations are businesses that qualified to save $25 per month by using small business rates. Forty-six are businesses that are getting discounts for opening a new location in a building that had been vacant for at least six months.