Public Service commissioners face challengers in primary
by George Henry, Associated Press
July 14, 2012 12:00 AM | 563 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — Public Service commissioners Stan Wise and Chuck Eaton are both facing challengers in the coming Republican primary on July 31.

Wise, 60, of Marietta has served on the commission since 1995 and is a past chairman of the five-member board, which regulates how much consumers pay utilities. His opponent in the GOP primary is Pam Davidson, 49, an energy consultant from Douglasville.

The race for the District 5 seat has included numerous accusations on both sides. Davidson has called Wise an insider whose major campaign donors are those affiliated with utility companies. She has pledged not to accept political contributions from employees of regulated utilities. “Unfortunately, this behavior results in higher rates for Georgians,” Davidson said. “He serves in a regulatory position but compromises consumers by looking after utility companies’ interests first.”

Davidson also said Wise cast the deciding vote last month to let Georgia Power avoid $3.2 million in damages caused by 2011 service disruptions at the Plant Vogtle and Plant Hatch nuclear generation facilities.

Wise said Davidson is misrepresenting the facts, that he was among three people who voted and that the disputed costs were a small part of a larger vote by the commission to approve $567 million in fuel rate reductions.

“While two of the commissioners took issue with whether $3.2 million more in disputed costs should have been included as part of the settlement, it would have been foolish from a legal standpoint to throw out the settlement and place at risk $567 million in guaranteed annual fuel cost reductions, especially when the legal standard being applied would not have justified the additional $3.2 million cut,” Wise said after the vote.

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