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Last updated 5:20PM ET
March 8, 2021
PSC Hopes Rate Reduction Expands Biofuel Project
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Public Service Commission members hope a recent rate decrease for renewable energy will bring more customers into an obscure Alabama Power Co. biomass project. But some say the utility hasn't done enough to publicize the program.

The project is located in Gadsden and mixes coal with a small percentage of switchgrass, usually 5 to 7 percent.

Experts believe the process could help reduce emissions. The utility hopes the lower rates will attract more participation.

But the program has only attracted 215 buyers among a total customer base of 1.4 million.

The program allows residential customers to pay for the production of 100 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy each month for a $6 surcharge on top of the customer's regular bill.

Under changes approved by the PSC on December 4th, residential customers will have the option of buying in at $2.25 per 50 kilowatt-hours, starting January 1st.

Commercial and industrial customers will be included in the program for the first time, and can pay for 100 kwh blocks for $4.50.

Biomass includes fuels like switchgrass and other organic materials.

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