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Mornings unPHILtered - Echols states case for PSC seat
Position helps regulate utility costs around Georgia
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    Wednesday’s guest on the “Mornings unPHILtered” show was Tim Echols, who is in a Republican runoff for the District 2-Eastern Public Service Commission seat. He faces retired Army officer John Douglas in the Aug. 10 runoff.
    Echols told host Phil Boyum that people see the Public Service Commission race on the ballot and ask themselves “What is this?” In fact, he said, the person elected to the post would represent Georgia's citizens when it comes to considering the rates they have to pay for utilities and various other services.
    Echols said he disagrees with is the current PSC ruling that allows Georgia Power to pre-charge for construction costs for Plant Vogel nuclear plant. The construction financing is being paid for four years before the construction even begins.
    Echols said people are having a hard time just paying their bills, and said it's just not right to make them pay for construction expenses up front. Echols said the PSC only holds hearings in Atlanta currently. If elected, he said, he would push for the PSC to start holding meetings all around the state.
    All of the PSC commissioners are elected statewide, but the district he seeks to represent (District 2-Eastern) stretches from Macon to Augusta and Athens down towards the coast. Echols said PSC commissioners serve a six-year term.
    Considering the future of Atlanta Gas & Light, which controls the underground gas pipelines around the state, Echols said the company needs to make natural gas more available around the region for those driving natural gas-powered cars. Right now, he said, it is available only in a few select locations. Natural gas is cheaper, cleaner, and is an all-American resource that doesn't come from foreign oil wells.
    Echols said that for those who decry our dependence on foreign soil, natural gas-powered cars are a way to help break free. Echols said that Georgia Power has been dragging its feet about encouraging the use of another alternative source of energy, solar power.
    While “solarizing” one's whole house can cost between $25,000 and $35,000, Georgians can begin with a less-expensive and very important item: a solar water-heater. Solar water heating systems currently cost some $6,000 and you'd get rebates back for about half of that.
    Concerning his opponent, John Douglas, Echols was complimentary, but he said he believes that he is the man who will ask the hard questions of agencies coming to the PSC trough.
    Echols said he has never, and won't, accept any money from any of these groups he will be asked to regulate. Echols said he comes from a family that has always run small businesses. Holding two masters degrees from the University of Georgia, he said he spent 15 years building a successful non-profit.
    “Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at on

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