Tim Echols, Public Service Commissioner, in Athens

Today in Athens GC3 sponsored a very well attended, enthusiastic and informative round table discussion with Tim Echols, our elected North-east GA Public Service Commissioner. For those who may not know: the Public Service Commission is the elected board of representatives who regulate our monopolistic energy company in GA, Georgia Power. They also moderate with GA Power’s parent, Southern Company. We are very fortunate here in GA because we have an elected commission, and our reps are responsive to the citizens when it comes to how we get the electricity we all use for everything everyday. There were city managers and planners in attendance, our County Commissioner Melissa Link, faculty from the UGA Departments of Computer Science, Medical Science and Journalism, Engineering, Marine Biology, Ecology and the UGA Office of Sustainability, a local attorney, graduate students and UGA Beyond Coal campaigners, a local solar engineer and installer, and members of the GC3 and Bike Athens board. Some of the highlights of the conversation included the new solar experimental farm going in on South Milledge, the ap GA Power is developing right now to help people track and manage their power usage, and merging that with a pre-pay system to more forcefully encourage energy efficient behavior. Mr. Echols described the concerted pressure from the PSC on GA Power to develop more utility scale solar facilities. He had great insights as to the best tact, design and structure of efforts on the part of those of us who are campaigning to encourage our elected officials one way or another to act with respect to climate change. We talked about issues related to the under-construction nuclear plants, the role of natural gas in GA’s future energy generation mix, the purchase by GA Power of wind from OK, how individuals, groups, an institutions can best go about encouraging new testing and experimenting by GA Power on renewable/energy efficient technology, and of course! The newly passed solar leasing option, as well as the impending end of the federal solar tax credits and end to the state electric car subsidy. All this in an hour!!!IMG_20150522_130524_149[1] IMG_20150522_130545_137[1] IMG_20150522_133837_442[1] IMG_20150522_133842_372[1] IMG_20150522_133847_357[1] IMG_20150522_134101_617[1] IMG_20150522_142659_366[1]