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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Georgia Power rate hike blasted on YouTube by senior citizen who can't afford high utility bills

For the last three years, Pamela Crouse has spent the cold winter months living in her bedroom that's heated by a lone kerosene heater. In the summer, she "suffers." Thanks to utility bill increases, the 63-year-old Chatsworth, Ga., resident can't afford to heat — or, when it's hot, cool — her home. If the Public Service Commission, the state agency that determines how much you pay to heat your home and turn on your lights, grants Georgia Power its requested $1.1 billion rate hike, the chances of Crouse being able to live comfortably are even more unlikely to improve.

Crouse, who the AJC reports is on disability and works a part-time job two days a week, is a member of the AARP, the senior citizens' advocacy group that helped suggest a scaled-back rate hike to the PSC. Crouse filmed a video featuring the heater and blasting the rate-hike proposal, which the AARP posted it on its website and YouTube to raise awareness about the rate increase — one of the largest in the utility's history.

The PSC is expected to vote on the rate increase on Dec. 21. Like we discussed some months back, it's interesting how even the tiniest of tax increases can inspire a rally, while a billion-dollar rate hike doesn't generate a peep.

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