On October 28, 2008, Excelsior EMC filed a complaint with the Georgia Public Service Commission asserting that Georgia Power was unlawfully providing electric service to approximately 984 apartment units comprising the Campus Club-Statesboro apartment complex. The apartments are housed in approximately 17 separate buildings, and the complex is located exclusively in Excelsior EMC’s assigned service territory. Excelsior EMC’s complaint alleges that Georgia Power is not entitled to serve the apartment complex pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-3-8(a) (the “large load exception”) where it is no longer furnishing electric service to the apartment complex via one “master” meter.
When the apartments were completed in 2001, they were served through a master meter. Because the connected electrical load at initial full operation was greater than 900 kW for the entire Campus Club apartment complex, the premises was “customer choice,” and the customer selected Georgia Power to serve. It has done so since then. In late 2007, new additional meters were added to each of the individual apartments within the Campus Club apartment complex.
Excelsior EMC contends that Georgia Power is not entitled to continue serving the premises under the “grandfather clause,” O.C.G.A. § 46-3-8(b), because it believes that each bedroom in each apartment in the Campus Club apartment complex is billed individually based on electricity usage. No individual apartment building, apartment unit or bedroom had a connected load of 900 kW or greater when the individual meters were installed for each apartment unit. Georgia Power argues that because it lawfully extended electric service through one meter serving the entire apartment complex pursuant to the large load exception, it has the right to extend service to the individual apartments by virtue of the grandfather clause. The main issue in the dispute is whether the entire Campus Club apartment complex continues to constitute one “premises” even though the apartment units are now separately metered, or if each unit should now be considered a separate premises. Excelsior EMC asserts that the statutory definition of “premises” prohibits multiple structures from being aggregated into “one premises” if, at any time, permanent service to any of those structures is separately metered and the charges are calculated independently of charges for service to any other building, structure or facility. O.C.G.A. § 46-3-3(6).
On November 25, 2008, Georgia Power filed a motion to dismiss. The basis for the motion is that Georgia Power has been lawfully serving the Campus Club apartment complex as a large load for seven years and is entitled to continue to do so under the grandfather clause. Briefing on the motion to dismiss has been completed. On March 25, 2009, Excelsior EMC filed a short motion for summary judgment. Oral argument was held on April 20, 2009, and the parties are awaiting a decision.