Hidden power: The story behind your electric bill

For most of us, the monthly electric bill is a fact of life. Though its share of the household budget rises and falls with consumption, electricity ranks with water, food and shelter as an essential expense. Meeting this demand in homes and businesses across Alabama requires production and distribution on an enormous scale. Because of the unusual relationship between a “captive” market and what is often a single producer, states regulate power companies differently from most other commercial operations. In theory, one part of that regulation is allowing consumers to see how their utility rates are set. This fact sheet examines regulation of Alabama’s largest utility company, with a focus on transparency in the rate-setting process.

Alabama bound: Our unjust 1901 constitution

Advocates for a new Alabama constitution have been divided for decades over how best to achieve that goal. Some have wanted to hold a convention at which elected delegates would craft a new constitution all at once, subject to voter approval. Others have favored a gradual, article-by-article rewrite. A recent development may render the debate moot, at least temporarily. Earlier this year, the Legislature established the Constitutional Revision Commission to revise 11 of the constitution’s 18 articles over four years.

This fact sheet examines the main issues at stake in constitutional reform, as well as some of the obstacles that continue to hinder reform efforts.