As your Commissioner, I am balancing the interests of consumers and utilities. As promised during my campaign, I have worked closely with Alabama Power Company to develop a financial incentive plan. This 3-tier plan will help small to medium businesses as well industrial customers. Expanding the number of businesses that can qualify for the small business rate, while not an incentive program itself, is certainly in keeping with what this effort is all about: namely, trying to encourage job growth and boost our state’s economy. The estimated annual benefit to newly qualified customers could total nearly $2,500,000. Depending on usage, businesses like small retail shops, churches, and city buildings could save an average of $316.00 per year.
As your Commissioner, I am standing up to big interest groups and big government policies such as cap and trade, which will result in higher utility costs that will be passed along to Alabama citizens. Former Governor Bob Riley appointed me to EISPC, the Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council. This appointment will enable me to be your watchdog to ensure Alabamians are not asked to pay for transmission lines that benefit other regions.
State licensed in municipal utilities, I believe my business experience is serving a role in economic development to help recruit jobs and protect existing businesses ensuring affordable utility rates. Again, the 3-tier incentive plan with Alabama Power Company has been created. Owners of small to medium-sized businesses have probably been hesitant to go forward with needed expansions due to the economy. A significant discount on energy costs could be just what is needed to make the business case for such a move.
As your Commissioner, I am taking an active and cautious role in development of a competitive, market-based approach to utility regulation whenever such an approach is in the public interest to ensure Alabama’s utility rates are among the lowest in the country.
I want a climate that will attract industries to the State of Alabama, thus helping every rate payer in the State.
As your Commissioner, I will continue to seek transparency at the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC). Since taking office, a new ethics rule has been passed that prohibits PSC members and employees from soliciting or accepting a gift or campaign contribution from a lobbyist who represents a utility regulated by the PSC. In addition, the Commission meetings will be videotaped; the videotapes will be available for viewing on the PSC website.