Since Southern Company/Georgia Power (Southern Company is the parent company of Georgia Power) received the go ahead from the Georgia PSC in 2009 to build two new nuclear reactors, there has been much controversy in regard to Plant Vogtle. In 2008, the initial cost for the two reactors was $14 billion. Georgia Power's share was around $6.1 billion, while "remaining ownership of the two reactors is split among Oglethorpe Power Corp., MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities". Completion of the project was expected to be 2017.
Georgia Power yielded so much influence in the Georgia Legislature, that in 2009, they were able to get a bill passed that would allow them to begin billing their customers in advance before the new reactors were online generating power. It appears on your Georgia Power bill as "Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery". SB31 was opposed by conservatives. Georgia Public Service Commission’s own staff analyzed the bill and found that SB 31 not only takes all risk away from investors and shareholders, it “would force current customers to subsidize future customers.”
The cost has already doubled and completion date is now 2020 -2022. Adding insult to injury, Georgia Power makes a guaranteed profit off the cost overruns. Rep. Jeff Chapman introduced legislation in 2013 that would cap the profit Georgia Power made off of the cost overruns, but it never went anywhere due to the tremendous clout of Southern Company/Georgia Power and the millions they spend lobbying each year.
Despite the massive cost overruns and setbacks with construction of the new Vogtle reactors, Georgia Power appears to be moving forward with the construction since obtaining additional federal loan guarantees .
Duke Energy just cancelled their nuclear project in South Carolina and is asking for a rate hike to cover the 368 million dollars already spent on the failed project. Santee Cooper (Southern Company wants to purchase Santee Cooper) and SCANA cancelled their nuclear project in South Carolina as well, amid much controversy.
In South Carolina, elected officials are standing up to their electric utilities in order to protect consumers by saying a firm no to mismanaged cost overruns. Mississippi elected officials stood up to Southern Company over their Kemper plant and their mismanaged cost overrruns. (BTW, Southern Co. shareholders aren't too happy about the executive salaries..)
It is very disappointing Georgia PSC Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald is the ONLY Georgia elected official standing up to Georgia Power so far. He wrote Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning asking him to appear before the PSC hearing scheduled for Monday at 10 am to talk about Georgia Power shouldering a bigger responsibility for the Vogtle cost overruns. We are totally supportive of Commissioner McDonald holding Georgia Power's feet to the fire and hope the other PSC members support him. After all, PSC elections are next year...
Don't Georgians deserve to have their elected officials stand up to Georgia Power and protect them, too?