The 2013 State Energy Plan process being managed by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is on hold at least until late spring. Over 400 people filled out the online survey to share our views about our energy future.  As yet we have no notice of when we will receive an analysis of the responses. The cancelled meetings in Decatur, Birmingham and Montgomery, which were scheduled for early February, will be rescheduled for May or possibly later, and the Plan deadline will also be extended.

The ADECA Energy Plan program manager recently said that we should be hearing something in the next month or so about the revised schedule for this much-needed plan for our energy future.

We will let you know as soon as we hear the next steps. Thanks to those of you who filled out the survey and signed up for the meetings! Alabamians from all sectors are affected by how we generate, distribute and use energy and hopefully all will be able to take part in this important planning process.

Public Service Commission

Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) has not been on the radar of most Alabama citizens, but it’s been in the news much more than usual lately. The mission of the PSC is “To ensure a regulatory balance between regulated companies and consumers in order to provide consumers with safe, adequate and reliable services at rates that are equitable and economical."

Mobile Gas, Alagasco and Alabama Power are our three regulated utilities, which until recently, have been overseen quietly without much public involvement. A disagreement between one of the commissioners and the other two over the appropriateness of a ‘formal’ review of some practices in place for 30 years without reconsideration created a controversy. The result is that there will be ‘informal’ meetings to review selected issues affecting the utilities and their customers.

At this time informal hearings for Mobile Gas are continuing. Their third is scheduled for Thursday, March 13 at 8:30 AM. A public hearing to receive input from customers will be held at 5:30 March 18, 2013 at the Mobile Library Bernheim Hall at 701 Government Street in Mobile.

At the regular PSC meeting in Montgomery on Tuesday, March 5th, dates for informal hearings for Alagasco and Alabama Power will be announced. Please contact us at info@aeconline.org if you would like to be involved.

POWER-UP and Energy Efficiency

Many thanks to all of you who came to the POWER-UP forum or participated in the preliminary roundtables. If you couldn’t attend and would like to see the presentations by the out-of-state guest speakers, as well as Michael Churchman and Cindy Lowry, visit the POWER-UP page on our website.  There is also a one-page summary as well as a longer report on the very successful event.