The Georgia Public Service Commission is poised to allow Georgia Power to continue to build the two new Plant Vogtle reactors, although the project is now years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.
The Commission — an elected body that is currently all Republican — needs to hear from Georgians about the problems with their lax approach as regulators. If nothing changes, we will all continue to be on the hook for these cost overruns resulting from the troubled project.
Earlier this year, the main contractor for the project declared bankruptcy. At that point, the construction of the two new nuclear reactors, what would be the first new nuclear power reactors built in this country in decades, were already over budget and behind schedule.
Georgia Power is able to finance this massive construction project — and the major delays — in part because all ratepayers pony up money every month as a surcharge to cover the project. This surcharge only exists because the Georgia Legislature created it and the PSC enforces it.
The PSC is allowing Georgia Power to largely drive the conversation around this project, even though they are tasked as regulators and are the only way ratepayers can have a say in what happens. After the bankruptcy, one commissioner talked about proposing that Georgia Power stop charging ratepayers the surcharge until they get it together. But that was quickly squashed, and since the PSC was treated to a $7,700 lobbyist funded dinner they seem largely content with the process.
Georgia Power now has until the regularly scheduled February meeting to make their case that construction will continue, meanwhile, as Georgia Watch Executive Director Liz Coyle pointed out the project will continue to rake up costs.
“By the time the PSC finally makes a decision on whether or not continuing the project is in the best interest of Georgia Power customers, another half a billion dollars will be sunk in construction costs,” she said according to the Savannah Morning News.
Contact your commissioner today and tell them they need to hold Georgia Power accountable on behalf of all ratepayers. These delays and cost overruns are unacceptable.
Chuck Eaton, Commissioner from District 3, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Echols, Vice-chairman and Commissioner from District 2, email@example.com
H. Doug Everett, Commissioner from District 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Commissioner from District 4, email@example.com
Stan Wise, Chairman and Commissioner from District 5, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the commission can be found here.