Just before the holidays, Georgia Power ratepayers received an unpleasant surprise. Georgia Public Service Commissioners have approved cost overruns of about $2 billion on Plant Vogtle’s nuclear reactor units 3 and 4. Those costs will be passed along to consumers.
“Approval of the Vogtle settlement creates the largest rate impact for Georgia Power customers based on the least public review in PSC history,” said Sara Barczak of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in a press release.
The PSC, the Public Service Commission, is the body charged with regulating utilities and utility companies. Georgia Power previously had $6.1 billion in capitol costs that were approved. These costs get passed onto consumers as “Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery” thanks to 2009 legislation that is letting Georgia Power bill consumers for construction costs and a small amount of profit on top of that.
Now an additional $2 billion is being passed along to Georgia Power customers, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy continues to be critical of the delays and cost increases that happen with very little oversight.
“With today’s decision, the Georgia Public Service Commissioners have wrongly rewarded Georgia Power, its partners and shareholders and lead Contractor Westinghouse for years of mistakes that will cost utility customers billions of additional dollars,” Barczak said.
Matt Kempner of the AJC also wrote critically about the decision from the PSC to approve the $2 billion in cost overruns.
“The elected commissioners — Wise, Doug Everett, Chuck Eaton, Tim Echols and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald — decided that Georgia Power won’t have to pay any of its nuclear construction overrun expenses so far. It won’t have to put its CEO on the stand to explain massive delays and overruns,” Kempner wrote.
And this isn’t even the first time this has happened.
Georgia Power hasn’t released a single press release about the hearing or the decision, not surprising given that the results are $2 billion in additional costs and an estimated 45 months delay in the completion of the nuclear reactors.