20 comments

  1. Booray says:

    Here’s one for you – http://www.democratgasbag.com

    It will take you to a website describing the blow-hard behavior of the chairman of the Democrat Party, who served as chief of staff for the Democrat Governor Roy Barnes, who voted for natural gas deregulation, along with every other Democrat legislator in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly of the time.

    Booray Bussey

    p.s. Showing that Gas Bag is still a political dummy, they tried attacking Perdue for this same stuff back in 2002 and it worked so well he beat Roy Barnes with one financial arm tied behind his back. Keep up the good work, Gas Bag!

  2. buzzbrockway says:

    That’s cute but I think Georgia’s Democrats will have a hard time pinning high prices on Perdue. Ever since Bush caused hurricane Katrina we’ve been warned that natural gas and home heating oil would skyrocket this winter.

    Here’s a suggestion for Mr. Kahn: Go get Hugo Chavez to give us some cheap natural gas.

  3. GAWire says:

    So, if Bobby can come on here and present a bunch of rediculous attempts at spin, does that mean the rest of us can too? Is this political news or political spin (and it isn’t even good spin!!)?

  4. Natural gas is a complicated issue, but it boils down to this. Look at your gas bill and the part that is the AGL Base Charge. That is how you and all other homeowners, small businesses and renters reimburse AGL for the maintenance and upkeep of the gas delivery lines.

    Seems fair that the end users should pay for the delivery of the product? Only, large corporate and commercials users don’t pay this charge. They only pay for the gas, and since they use more they also pay a lower rate for said gas.

    While it’s true that most everybody in the legislature voted for the natural gas dereg bill, what is also true is that there were opposing factions on how to write the bill. There were proposals and amendments that would have mandated large commercial users pay their fair share (which would lower the price of consumer gas bills way more than Sonny’s tax cut) and Sonny stood on the side of big business and against the little guy time and again, defeating amendments and ushering through an awful bill that legislators were told they had to vote on because dereg was the future.

    Now you may be asking yourself, what do the big customers give up in exchange for getting the deal of not paying the base charge? Well, they are called “interruptible” customers, in that the gas company can shut off their service on a high usage day. But call up the GM factory, or any other big user and ask them how many times this has ever happened.

    Knowing how so many bills are written in Georgia by lawyers and lobbyists for the affected entities you will not be surprised that the answer to the previous question is never.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    Frankly, I am tired of the misnomer of the 1997 legislation ever being dubbed a “deregulation” bill.

    “Deregulation” means that a market made-up of one supplier has competitive suppliers enter the market and thus compete for customers by offering different services or different prices.

    There is still just ONE supplier in this market…the only thing changed is another layer of office administration has been added to the billing, thus INCREASING costs.

    Thank you, Atlanta GasLight and Craig Dowdy, the lobbyist who wrote the bill back in 1997 and presented it to Perdue to take to the floor.

  6. GaMongrel says:

    Even if the large corporate and commercials users paid their share, we consumers would still end up paying for it. The large corporate and commercials users would pass their costs on to us in higher prices.

  7. buzzbrockway says:

    Seems fair that the end users should pay for the delivery of the product? Only, large corporate and commercials users don’t pay this charge. They only pay for the gas, and since they use more they also pay a lower rate for said gas.

    chris,

    I don’t know where you got that information but I can tell you that our company pays a ton of money each month to AGL and also for a “pipeline capacity charge.” Let me know who to call to get these charges taken off our bill.

  8. Buzz, are you sure your company is an interruptible user? I know, for example that our church (and it’s school/gym/etc) uses a ton of gas, we’re talking about a gas bill that is in the thousands of dollars, and yet they still pay the base charge because they aren’t an interruptible user.

    We’re talking about the very, very big gas users – factories are a good example. Organizations that don’t just use gas to heat their buildings but also to run their machinery. Pre deregulation, these guys were starting to look into alternative means of delivery, bypassing the gas company to find their own supplies.

    The whole point of Perdue’s bill was to sweeten the deal enough for industry to give it’s blessing so they wouldn’t leave the existing pipeline.

    Bill, you make a great point about the pointlessness of gas deregulation. The primary part of the business is the gas delivery, and there is only one company that does that part. That is also the main cost. It isn’t like telephone lines, where even though there is only one line to your house the cost to transfer product over it is so low and you have numerous options about what to receive over the line – local, long distance, dial up, dsl, etc…

    The biggest problem with deregulation is that you’ve added another layer just to sell a product that hasn’t changed since pre-regulation. So before you just called up AGL and said deliver gas to my house. Now you have to call somebody else and tell them that and then they call AGL and do what you used to just do yourself. Additionally, consumers aren’t sophisticated enough (nor do they have enough purchasing power) to benefit from entering into a natural gas market.

    So, Perdue could fix all of this pretty simply: Reregulate to get rid of a beaurocratic layer, and make all industrial users pay the same share of the delivery costs as the rest of us.

    And to whoever said that industry just passes on the cost, that’s fine — but I’ll at least get to choose whose costs I want to be passed on to me. Right now, I’m subsidizing the gas costs of the GM plant AND the Ford plant whether I buy a car from them or not. At least if they were passing on the cost I’d have a choice as to which company’s costs (if any) I want to offset.

    Call me crazy but I think when Georgia passes laws they should protect consumers, not give them the shaft.

  9. GaMongrel says:

    Can someone verify the last sentence? I’m looking for those figures.

    http://www.11alive.com/money/money_article.aspx?storyid=75570
    Gas Re-regulation Gaining Steam

    Reported By: Blair Meeks
    Web Editor: Michael King
    Last Modified: 2/3/2006 8:19:36 AM

    Consumers’ well-noted struggle to pay soaring natural gas bills has reached the state Legislature and now, Georgia lawmakers are asking for help.

    A bill designed to re-regulate the gas business in Georgia would take an incredible push from the public to get state leaders to budge, according to Representative David Lucas (D-Macon), the bill’s sponsor, .

    “I think we were all duped in that we were told this would bring in competition and lower consumers’ gas bills,

  10. Bobby Kahn says:

    Nice link. Here’s what the AJC reported in December:

    “U.S. Department of Energy figures suggest Georgia is not better off than other states and that wholesale prices aren’t the only culprit: Georgia had the third-lowest gas prices in the nation in 1999 (pre-deregulation), and now regularly reports the third-highest.

  11. Mongrel, you cherry picked a good month, maybe not intentionally, but nonetheless.

    Let’s check out the annual figure (which should be a better average to look at) from the same web page:

    1999:
    GA 4.37
    TN 6.53
    AL 6.69
    NC 8.32
    SC 8.46
    FL 11.59

    that was then, this is now:
    2004:
    TN 10.39
    AL 10.74
    SC 12.46
    NC 12.65
    GA 13.75
    FL 18.47

    All of the states saw their prices go up, and you will notice it was mostly proportional which reflects the increase in the commodity. But Georgia, which was the lowest by far, should still be the lowest, but now it is the 2nd highest.

    In other words, most states have seen their prices increase by between 40-65% since 1999. Georgia’s went up 210%. This is just another one of those things that make you go hmmmm.

  12. I guess the one good thing to come out of natural gas deregulation is that it is still cheaper to ship gas to Georgia over a pipeline than it is to put it on a tanker ship to Hawaii.

  13. GaMongrel says:

    Yeah, just snagged the most recent month avail. No agenda there. I really wanted to see December’s results but no luck there.

    Everyone makes it sound like reregulation would bring ‘us’ a windfall because our rates are SO much higher. It’s nice however to see the numbers and be able to put the issue into context.

    Now we have some numbers to discuss instead of pure emotion regarding our increased expenses.

  14. Well, based on the annual averages, if Georgia could reregulate and we could just have the average price that TN, AL, SC and NC had in 2004 we would be down to 11.56 instead of 13.75. That’s a 16% reduction. Sounds like more than chump change. And if we could get back to being the lowest of all of the southern states that would be a reduction of at least 25%.

    Tell someone who just got a $400 gas bill that a 16% ($64) or 25% ($100) reduction isn’t a windfall!

  15. GaMongrel says:

    My bill ending 12/22 was $224.88 (ignoring base, service and tex amts) on the varibale market rate. I too woudl like to get 16% back ($36) for my young family of 4.

    If you’ve got a $400 bill, no wonder you’re complaining. Me? I’ve cut back on the temp and put on more layers.

    We knew this was coming for sometime. As a result, my already financially strapped household has cut corners in other places.

  16. I have heard people tell me about bills going into the $900’s. Mostly this is due to having an older house that isn’t very energy efficient, and hopefully a lot of people will look into ways to save energy regardless of high prices, but considering that our prices have gone up 150% higher compared to similar states around us, I think this is an issue that Sonny hopes the media and voters don’t put 2 and 2 together on.

  17. HeartofGa says:

    Lines at the gas PUMP helped beat Carter. The public’s belief that the government was corrupt, criminal and out of touch with the plight of the common man helped elect Carter. My point is that issues like this that touch everyone will resonate in November. Sure, we conserve, but it is “cold” comfort when oil companies are reaping record profits.

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