Some Customers Can Choose Their Electricity Suppliers
In most of the United States, companies don't have the option of selecting their electricity supplier – but that's not the case in Georgia. The 1973 Georgia Territorial Electric Service Act established retail competition between electricity suppliers in Georgia. This act gives customers with new connected loads of 900 kilowatts or greater a choice of electricity supplier.
The act designates exclusive service areas to 42 electric membership cooperatives, which serve 71 percent of the state's land area, and to Georgia Power Company, Savannah Electric or municipal power systems.
New connected loads of 900 KW or greater at initial full operation, excluding redundant equipment, may be served by any supplier:
- outside municipal limits;
- in areas annexed to a municipality after March 29, 1973, if the supplier owns lines in the municipality;
- in wholly new municipalities.
One supplier's service line (below 120,000 volts) crossing another supplier's assigned area creates "corridor rights." Customers within the corridor may be able to choose the electrical supplier that owns the service line. Other potential customer-choice situations exist that require determination by the electrical suppliers.
This competition is possible partly because Georgia's major power suppliers jointly own the state's transmission lines and substation facilities. The Integrated Transmission System includes the Georgia Transmission Corporation, which provides transmission and associated services to Georgia EMCs; Georgia Power Company; MEAG Power; and Dalton Utilities. This agreement reduces the cost of electricity for Georgia consumers by avoiding duplication of facilities and through joint planning to enhance electric service reliability.