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Opposing new PSC rule
Georgia's energy future
New consumer resource
Energy conference
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May 8, 2013


Thank you for your support of Georgia Watch's mission protecting consumers. It's been an exciting month at Georgia Watch.


Right now, we are serving as the voice of consumers during the planning of our state's energy future at the Public Service Commission and also opposing a new rule the Commission wants to impose on low income Georgians. We've developed a new resource to help consumers save energy and money on their power bills. And I was proud to be a panelist at the Spring Southeast Climate and Energy Network Conference. 


Last but not least, please save the date for our summer Consumer Champion event honoring Gov. Roy Barnes!   



Elena Small Signature



Elena Parent

Executive Director  

Honoring a Consumer Champion:

Roy Barnes

Save the date: June 18, 6-8 PM


Announcing the 2013 Georgia Watch Consumer Champion Award recipient: The Honorable Roy E. Barnes, former Governor, exceptional attorney and steadfast consumer advocate.  


Gov. Barnes has devoted his career to fighting for everyday Georgians. We will honor him at a fundraiser to support Georgia Watch on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the home of Teresa Wynn Roseborough, General Counsel of The Home Depot.  


Please make plans to attend this special occasion! Drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be served. Tickets are $50 per person or $75 per couple. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Elena Parent at or (404) 525-1085.


PSC proposes imposing $5 monthly charge on free Lifeline phone service for Georgia's poor
Yesterday, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to govern Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) with the stated intent to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the Lifeline program. Under the proposed rule, ETCs would be required to charge low income recipients of this emergency phone service $60 per year (to be collected monthly or quarterly) even though the service is supposed to be provided free to qualifying low income households through the Universal Service Fund (USF). Alternatively, ETCs would be required to provide 500 minutes free vs. the current 250 minutes included in the USF-funded service. 

Numerous ETCs and other parties, including Georgia Watch, have opposed the rule arguing that it will not reduce waste, fraud and abuse, but rather will deter eligible consumers and ETCs from participating in the program.   Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission has instituted a number of new regulations that actually do address the problems of waste, fraud and abuse.


"If you want to go after fraud, go after the fraudsters," said Georgia Watch Deputy Director Liz Coyle in an interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle. "What this $5 charge does is punish the most vulnerable people in the system, people who must choose between a meal, medicine or emergency phone service."

The NOPR is now in a 30-day review and comment period with the Commission scheduled to vote on whether to adopt the proposed rules on June 18. Interested parties may submit comments, data, views, arguments, or any other relevant matters in writing to the Commission concerning the proposed rules no later than 4:00 P.M. on June 6, 2013. Any written materials are to be filed with:


                      Reece McAlister

                      Executive Secretary

                      Georgia Public Service Commission

                      244 Washington St., S.W.

                      Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Planning Georgia's energy future

Georgia Watch has formally intervened in the 2013 Georgia Power Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proceedings before the Georgia Public Service Commission. Working with our coalition of traditional and nontraditional allies, we are identifying public witnesses to testify at the hearings later this month. We will ensure consumers have a voice in opposition to unreasonable rate increases and in favor of more clean, lower-cost renewable energy resources, and an increase in the amount of Energy Efficiency programs Georgia Power offers its customers.


New resource: Save energy and lower your bills

Reducing power use and saving money on your energy bill may be easier than you think! Whether consumers take simple steps, like remembering to turn off lights when leaving a room or making larger home investments, like installing a programmable thermostat to manage heating and cooling systems efficiently, they'll see a difference in their energy bills. Many utility companies are encouraging customers to save energy by offering energy efficiency incentives. These programs can include refrigerator recycling, free in-home energy audits, and special discounts and rebates on energy efficient appliances. 


We've created this new consumer resource to help you get started saving energy and money.


Georgia Watch Executive Director speaks at SCEN
Spring Southeast Climate and Energy Network conference held in Atlanta

 Elena at SCEN Conference

Elena Parent served as a panelist for a session on "Cultivating Relationships With Legislators" at the Spring SCEN conference on May 7, along with GreenLaw Executive Director, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, Andy Lord of Georgia Capitol Solutions (Georgia Watch's government relations professional), and Steve Valk of Citizens Climate Lobby. In today's polarized political environment, being mindful of the audience when formulating advocacy points is of utmost importance and Elena was proud to offer her thoughts as a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives.