Alabama Power Company has been given permission to raise its rates about one percent a year through 2013 to pay for $2 billion in environmental improvements to coal-burning generating plants.
The Alabama Public Service Commission voted two-to-one to allow Alabama Power to pass the cost of the federally mandated improvements on to its customers.
Commissioner George Wallace Junior voted "no" and says the power company should share some of the cost with its customers.
Wallace asked commissioners Jim Sullivan and Jan Cook to delay the vote for a month to give the commission's staff time to study other options.
Sullivan and Cook refused to delay the vote. Sullivan says state law gives Alabama Power the right to pass such costs on to its customers.
The commission also approved an amendment that asks Alabama Power not to request any other rate adjustments until 2007. Sullivan says this includes not passing on the cost of recovering from Hurricane Ivan to rate payers.