Gov. Nathan Deal’s cronyism is on display once again with his recent appointment of Tricia Pridemore to the Public Service Commission. But the 2018 elections (including the primaries on May 22) give progressives an opportunity to push back.
The Public Service Commission — which is charged with regulating the state’s utilities and defending consumer interests — is getting someone who will support the cost-overruns and significant delays that have plagued the Plant Vogtle expansion.
Pridemore co-chaired both of Deal’s inaugural committees, later served as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, and was appointed by Deal to the State Ethics Commission in 2016. Beyond being in with the Deal crowd, her brand of conservatism had her aligning with Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project when it launched in 2009. A role that got her noticed — and not shunned — by the Deal campaign.
Pridemore replaces Stan Wise, who resigned his seat just after ensuring Plant Vogtle will be able to continue their expansion project to add two new nuclear reactors during the most recent PSC vote. That project — being funded in part by us ratepayers — is now billions of dollars and several years behind schedule.
Attempts by regulators and lawmakers to reign in Georgia Power’s failing project continue to get beat back by the power company’s team of lobbyists. Most recently, a bill that would have put limits on how much money ratepayers were on the hook for was squashed in committee.
Wise told WABE that he was not confident the nuclear expansion project would be completed even given the most recent round of financial support and deadline extensions, even saying “I wouldn’t bet my house” on the Plant Vogtle expansion staying on schedule.
The Public Service Commission should be protecting ratepayers from Georgia Power’s political maneuvering and money-grabbing schemes. Instead, they seem perfectly willing to accept $7,700 dinners from lobbyists and co-sign whatever demands Georgia Power makes.
Deal, Wise and Pridemore have used this opportunity to maneuver another Deal crony into a position of power ahead of the 2018 elections. But Democrats are fielding multiple qualified candidates for PSC seats. Under new leadership, Georgia Power may just be held accountable for their billions of dollars in delays and failures.
In addition to getting involved with candidate’s campaigns — either financially supporting them or volunteering time — folks can vote May 22 in the primaries, selecting which candidates will appear on the Democratic and Republican tickets for the November 6 elections.