Public Service Commission candidate John Noel has come out swinging about Plant Vogtle after the PSC Staff called for Southern Company stockholders to bear a large share of Georgia Power’s cost overruns on the increasingly expensive nuclear project.
In its filing Friday, the PSC staff “concludes that completion of the (Vogtle) Project is no longer economic ... given the additional costs and schedule delays.” The “economic benefit” of finishing the project would be negative $1.6 billion, according to staff. “I agree with the PSC Staff analysis that Georgia power customers should not be burdened with Georgia Power and the commissioners’ mistakes. The commissioners and the utility have been virtual partners in a failed project. Piece by piece, the commissioners have rubber stamped Georgia Power’s repeated requests for more money and more time.” Noel added, “Georgia electricity customers had no way to control the Vogtle cost risk; that was the Commission’s responsibility.”
Noel is running for the PSC seat of Chuck Eaton in the November 2018 general election.
“All of Georgia Power’s forecasts of the cost and schedule have been wrong. Commissioners should have pulled the plug long ago,” says Noel a resident of Riverside in Atlanta. “The Georgia PSC no longer has any credibility after approving, and even praising, this project from the get-go. It is past time for some tough decisions about Vogtle. Sadly, the current Commission has neither the wisdom nor the determination to do the right thing. Georgia desperately needs commissioners who care more about electricity users than being buddies with Georgia Power.”
Noel had earlier called for Chairman Stan Wise to resign, after news reports revealed Wise’s plans to give Georgia Power the green light in February to complete Plant Vogtle, and then resign to take a job in the utility industry. According to the Marietta Daily Journal, after his resignation, Wise “wants to use his relationships with those in the utility industries and knowledge to continue to help people.”
“What Wise is really saying is that he’s going to cash in on his aggressive pro-utility voting record to enrich himself in the industry he was supposed to be regulating,” said Noel, a former state legislator and a 20-year veteran of the energy-efficiency business. “Stan Wise should do us all a favor and resign immediately.”
PSC hearings on continuing construction on the troubled nuclear power plant resume Monday, December 11th in Atlanta.