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Georgia PSC Agrees to Reconsider AGL Rate Cut

The Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) voted 4-1 Tuesday to reconsider its order in April that freezes Atlanta Gas Light Co.'s residential rates, sharply reducing its annual revenues.

The AGL Resources utility subsidiary estimated that the April rate decision (Docket 18638-U) would cost it about $25 million in lost annual revenues (see NGI, May 2).

In May the commission granted AGL a limited stay of the order, but the stay only applied to a small portion of the order dealing with accounting of a 2002 sale of AGL's Caroline Street facility and a $21 million gain recorded from the sale (see NGI, May 9). The GPSC said during the stay the annualized reduction in the company's revenues would be $19.8 million rather than $25 million. The stay remains in effect for 40 days following its release.

Following the stay decision, AGL filed a petition with the commission on May 9 seeking rehearing, reconsideration and oral argument on the original rate order. Officials at AGL initially were stunned by the 3-2 vote at PSC, saying it was not supported by the facts in the case. AGL's Kevin P. Madden, executive vice president for distribution and pipeline operations, called the order "fundamentally flawed from both a legal and public policy standpoint. It is our hope that these flaws will be rebutted appropriately on reconsideration and be reversed."

The Commission has scheduled a vote on the merits of reconsideration for its next scheduled administrative session on Friday, June 10. The reconsideration will include all issues included in the company's May 9 petition.

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