Alabama Power to cut rates for small businesses

After the start of the new year, small businesses will get a break in their Alabama Power rates.

The Public Service Commission voted in October to allow a rate adjustment for small businesses.

Alabama Power spokesperson Keisa Sharpe said in an e-mail that starting Jan. 1, 2010, small businesses would save $25 per month on customer service charges.

The rate applies to small businesses that use less than 15 kilowatts at once.

“The customer service charge pays for things like the maintenance of the electrical system, administrative costs and business offices,” Sharpe said.

In October 2008, Alabama Power raised its rates by 13 percent to try to recover a shortfall of more than $320 million, incurred when fuel prices rose rapidly.

“The rate increase was expected to recover the balance over 24 months,” Sharpe said. “However, we are seeing a much quicker recovery of that balance, due to dramatically lower coal and natural gas costs and the increased rainfall that has allowed Alabama Power to utilize more cheap hydroelectric power at its dams.”

Sharpe said Alabama Power hopes small businesses will get some relief from the lower rates.

“The customer service charge reduction to small business customers should give some relief in light of these economic times,” she said. “Alabama Power is pleased to pass along lower costs to all of our customers when we can.”