It’s hard to understand what Public Service Commission candidate Daniel Blackman meant by his remarks during a recent PSC candidate forum sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. Blackman, the Democrat facing Republican incumbent PSC member Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, said this: “Let’s be honest: What we’ve been doing has not been working.”
To our knowledge, against an ongoing tide of tremendous residential and commercial growth across the state, no city or community in Georgia is without electricity. Utility companies are keeping ahead of demand.
There also have been no avoidable snafus like recently occurred in South Carolina, where uncertainty reigned over who would take over and bail out the state’s largest utility company, South Carolina Electric & Gas. That’s a haunt that has stayed outside of Georgia’s borders.
It’s difficult to say what is upsetting Blackman the most. Is it the fact that Georgia Power is allowed to keep a hefty slice of utility payments? Or is it the PSC’s decision to allow power cutoffs for nonpayment after months of the COVID-19 pandemic? Maybe it’s both of those plus the fact that the PSC is not jumping all-in into the prohibitively costly Green New Deal. Who does he think would pay for that?
Georgia Power has shut down coal-fired plants that generate electricity, and it’s cleaning up the mess left behind. The utility company also is getting more and more into solar power. As pointed out during the forum, solar power farms are producing 525 megawatts, compared to none in 2013. The goal is to have 2 gigawatts of solar power by the end of 2021.
Georgia Power is also Johnny-on-the-spot in the wake of hurricanes, and wind and ice storms. After brushes with the forces of Atlantic-brewed cyclones, residents and businesses on the coast are especially appreciative of that. Few utility companies, if indeed any at all, can boast being faster at restoring power to cities and customers.
Anyone who would even suggest tinkering with that record of success does not have the best interest of the state or its people in mind. A person who would push for tampering with that success would seem to be more eager to push a political agenda than protecting what works for the state.
Hopefully that is not the case in this instance.