- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Parts of Georgia were under a heat advisory Wednesday as temperatures climbed into the upper 90s in large parts of the state, with heat index values soaring to around 105 degrees.

The advisory was in place until 8 p.m. Wednesday across central and south Georgia, including Athens, Columbus, Macon, Statesboro and Vidalia.

The National Weather Service was projecting high temperatures of around 100 degrees across south Georgia, including the Dublin and Hinesville areas. Highs were expected to reach the upper 90s elsewhere.

In Atlanta, city officials announced the opening of three cooling stations.

Nearly a dozen Atlanta city pools were also free, and the Atlanta fire department was offering free bottled water at all its stations, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

In the Augusta area, Richmond and Columbia counties also had cooling centers open, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

“We do it every summer - June 1 through the end of September - so that any time during that time period that we have a heat wave like we are having right now that people don’t have to think twice,” said Pam Tucker, director of the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency. “They already know where they are and what the accommodations are.”

In Valdosta, the Mathis City Auditorium, a parks and recreation facility and a senior citizens’ center were open during the week for residents needing to escape the heat, the Valdosta Daily Times reported.

The heat comes as Georgia Power’s electricity rates are set to rise during the summer months.

A customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month will pay about 20 percent more per month during the summer than in other months, the Georgia Public Service Commission estimates.

“Summer rates are higher than the rest of the year because it is the peak season and energy is a lot more expensive to produce,” John Kraft, a spokesman for Georgia Power, told WSB-TV.

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