Report: Ala. AG rejects request for utility rate hearings

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Apr 24, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) -- Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has reportedly shot down a request by the head of the state's Public Service Commission to investigate utility rates in the state.

According to, PSC Commissioner Terry Dunn sent Strange a letter last week asking the attorney general to exercise his authority to "institute and originate proceedings" before the PSC and join him in calling for a formal review of the state's Rate Stabilization and Equalization system on behalf of Alabama Power Company, Alabama Gas Corporation and Mobile Gas Service Corporation customers.

Dunn called the hearings "long overdue."

Strange sent a one-sentence response to Dunn, saying the commissioner "needs to focus on working with his colleagues" to "do the job the people of Alabama elected him to do," reported Wednesday. recently reported that utility consumers in Alabama are paying more than those in neighboring states -- in some cases, double.

Under state law, the attorney general is responsible for making sure utility rates, which are set by the PSC, are fair.

He or she also is permitted to call for formal hearings at any time.

According to, such hearings have not been held in the state since 1995.

Instead, the state's rates have been set under RSE, in which utilities are granted automatic rate hikes as long as their profits remain within a certain range. PSC commissioners also must approve their operating costs.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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