Selma gas customers might get break

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 10, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Alagasco customers in Selma will likely have something to smile about this winter.

While Dallas County’s 10,400 customers will not see the difference just yet, a preliminary agreement has been reached with Alagasco and Alabama Public Service Commission officials on the gas company’s main rate-setting plan, known as the Rate Stabilization and Equalization Plan, that will keep rates that have dropped recently stable in upcoming years.

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The settlement was reached last week and is still under review. Commissioners Jan Cook, Susan Parker and and commission President Jim Sullivan will have to sign the agreement before it becomes official.

The process will take at least a week and will require a majority vote for it to take effect, Public Service Commission spokesman David Rountree said.

“All Alagasco customers, no matter their location in the state are paying less for their natural gas bills than they were paying this time last year.

That is good news,” said Susan Delenne, spokeswoman for Alagasco.

The plan has been is use for the past 25 years and with the renewal, will be effective until the year 2014. Alagasco cannot raise rates without contacting the Public Service Commission first.

Alagasco had a rate decrease that went into effect Nov. 1, making it the fifth rate decrease the company has announced in two years, Delenne said. Rates are the same all over the state and are measured per cubic foot.

John Brown of Selma said while he awaits the changes on his monthly bill, the idea of prices getting lower and stabilizing comes as good news. Last month his bill spiked to nearly double of what it was the month before. “I feel sorry for those who are on a fixed income,” Brown said.


2, 873 households in Selma and Dallas County that are either fixed- or low-income receive assistance through the Dallas-Selma Community Action and Community Development Corporation, headquartered on Jeff Davis Avenue.

Deborah Williams, who is director of energy for the agency, said she is delighted with the change, believing it will be a great help for senior citizens and those on fixed incomes. “It’s wonderful for those fixed-income and low-income households who barely make a living wage,” Williams said.

The agency also provides one-on-one and workshop energy counseling for individuals who need assistance.

Williams said that lower rates mean the funds the agency receives from the state will stretch farther and more people will be helped. The agency is currently waiting for the state to dispense assistance funds to them.