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Alabama Power raises rates to deal with coal ash

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Power Company has raised electric rates this year to pay for closing coal ash ponds around the state. reports the company requested the increase so it will comply with rules set up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2015.

Utility spokesman Michael Sznajderman says Alabama Power is changing the way it operates because of more than $200 million in government-mandated costs, mostly for water quality and coal ash handling.

Sznajderman said rates went up about 3 percent, about $4.50 monthly for the typical residential customer.

Alabama Power has nearly 1.5 million customers, including residential customers, businesses and industries.

The company’s coal-powered plants have used ponds to dispose of the solid materials left over from burning the coal. The ash goes through lagoons and settles in the ponds.

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