Beginning next month, Brookhaven residents will see their power bills go up slightly. Georgia Power Co. will begin collecting an additional charge called a franchise fee from residents of the new city.
Georgia Power began sending letters to Brookhaven customers Sept. 24, informing them of the upcoming changes to their bills.
According to the letter, “This change has resulted in a debit being applied to your account to bill the appropriate Municipal Franchise Fee from March 2013 until the current billing period. This retroactive amount will be reflected on your next monthly statement. Going forward, this Municipal Franchise Fee will be applied to your monthly bill based on your current monthly usage.”
Some Brookhaven residents are unhappy about the new charges.
Jane Fink said she wants to know exactly what the city will do with the revenue from franchise fees. She said she will pay about $43 more per year due to the franchise fee.
“If you’re going to raise taxes, I don’t have a problem with that. But tell me why you’re raising taxes,” Fink said.
Georgia cities may collect franchise fees from electric, gas, telecommunication and cable providers.
Franchise fees were historically implemented to encourage economic development in Georgia cities, Brookhaven officials said.
The charge won’t increase power bills by much. The franchise fee for Brookhaven residents is 2.9 percent, compared to a 1.1 percent charge under DeKalb County, according to the city.
Brian Green, a spokesman for Georgia Power, said for a typical customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, the new franchise fee will be $3.68.
Before Brookhaven incorporated, those customers were charged 1.1 percent, or $1.36.
Georgia Power pays the fees to cities with franchise agreements to place and maintain their equipment, such as poles and power lines, on public right-of-way property, Green said in an email.
Brookhaven officials said the money from franchise fees will go into the city’s general fund and will be used to provide city services.