The City of Thomaston can mark another winter off as being one of the top 10 electrical utilities in the state charging the least amount per kilowatt hours for 500 kilowatt hours (KWH) and 1,000 KWH. In the Georgia Public Service Commission’s Winter 2014 residential rate survey, Thomaston is ranked 5th cheapest in the 500 KWH with a rate of 10.760 per KWH and a charge of $53.73. In the 1,000 KWH category, the most common one for Thomaston, the city is ranked 8th with a rate of 9.785 per KWH and a charge of 97.85.
“I think that was outstanding,” Mayor Hays Arnold said at the March 18 city council meeting, where he announced the findings of the survey. “We’ve been in the top 10 for a number of years and we’ve done our best to operate an efficient department. Neal Ivey and his staff do a great job. If you were in the average user category, which our average is 9.70 kilowatt hours - the survey was based on 1,000 kilowatt hours per month – your bill in Thomaston would have been $97.85. But if you just happened to live in Doerun, it would have been $146.00. So there is quite a variation, a rainbow of rates. But we appreciate that.”
The PSC does annual winter and summer residential rate surveys, based on usages of 500 KWH, 1,000 KWH, 1,500 KWH, and 2,000 KWH. There are 94 electric utilities throughout Georgia. Some are city electric departments like Thomaston, some are county electric departments like Crisp County, and some are Electric Membership Cooperatives, like Upson EMC. Georgia Power is also included in the survey.
In the Winter 2014 survey for the 500 KWH category, Thomaston was ranked 5th. Upson EMC was ranked 20th, while Georgia Power was ranked 34th. The City of Dalton in north Georgia was ranked No. 1 with the lowest rate, while the City of Brinson, a tiny town of less than 300 residents in Decatur County in southwest Georgia, was No. 94 with the highest rate. The average charge among the 94 utilities was $64.70, almost $11 higher than Thomaston’s charge of $53.73.
For the 1,000 KWH category, Thomaston was ranked 8th, Upson EMC was ranked 17th, and Georgia Power was ranked 30th.The City of Dalton was once again ranked No. 1, while Doerun, a town of about 1,000 in Colquitt County in south Georgia, was ranked No. 94 with the highest rate. The average charge was $144.61, which was almost $17 higher than Thomaston’s charge of $97.85
For the 1,500 KWH category, Thomaston was ranked 13th, Upson EMC was ranked 15th, and Georgia Power was ranked 31st. Central Georgia EMC in Jackson was ranked No. 1, while Doerun again ranked 94th. The average charge was $162.35, $22 higher than Thomaston’s charge of $140.23.
For the 2,000 KWH category, Upson EMC ranked lower than Thomaston. Upson EMC ranked 14th, while Thomaston was 16th, and Georgia Power was 30th. Central Georgia EMC was once again No. 1, and Doerun came in last for the third time. The average charge was $209.89, which is $27 higher than Thomaston’s charge of $182.61 and $29 higher than Upson EMC’s charge of $180.76.
Mayor Arnold added that residents’ higher bills this winter have been due more to the temperatures than to the rates.
“I also think that it is interesting that this past January, we had 21 days of below freezing temperatures that was registered at some point during a 24-hour day,” Arnold said. “No question that that was responsible for the high utility bills, and not the six percent rate increase that we passed on. I think everybody can depend on things improving as the weather moderates and we have milder days. I think that everybody will be much happier with their billing results.”
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.