Rate Hike Likely for Savannah Electric Customers

How much is your electric bill these days? In a few months, you could be paying even more. Today, Savannah Electric requested a fuel cost increase from the Georgia Public Service Commission. We spoke with Savannah Electric officials and customers, and though the increase is not definite yet, it is pretty likely. Chances are in November, all Savannah Electric customers will be paying 13 percent more than they do now.

Customer Edith Louder has been trying to cut costs since her husband died a few years ago. "I live on a fixed income," she said. "That makes a difference."

And on that fixed income, Louder pays an average of $80 a month on her Savannah Electric bill. But now with a possible 13 percent increase, Louder's bill is going to jump to almost $100.

"Can't save any money," she said. "Everybody wants your money."

And Louder isn't alone. Hair and Nails on 104th salon opened its doors a year ago. The salon's Kathy Steele told us, "My bill now runs on average $180."

But come November, that bill might jump to over $200 a month. "That's going to be kind of tight, because business will cool down in the cooler months, so it will put us in more of a crunch," Steele said.

It's a crunch Savannah Electric says it's feeling too. With the market price of natural gas and coal going up in the last few months, they have no choice but to increase their prices.

"We make no money or no mark up under this law, it's just a simple upgrade of our fuel expenses," said the company's John Kraft.

Now with both Savannah Electric and its customers hoping for natural gas prices to go down, Louder and Steele say they have their own way to try to keep their bills low:

"Have to cut back a bit on leaving things running and unplugging stuff at night," said Steele.

"I try to watch the dryer and dry things in the bathroom to keep from running the dryer," said Louder.

Savannah Electric does offer programs to assist people with their electric bills if they qualify. If you'd like more information, you can visit www.savannahelectric.com or call 800.437.3890.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com