Public schools shouldn’t be stuck with the bill for what’s now been dubbed the “Plant Vogtle Vortex,” named as such because money and time seem to disappear into the black hole of Georgia Power’s failed project.
The nuclear power plant is years behind schedule and is billions of dollars over budget. A bill passed in 2009 has allowed Georgia Power to pass on those charges to consumers — meaning anyone who uses Georgia Power has footed the monstrous bill for Plant Vogtle. That even includes our public schools, which haven’t been properly funded since 2002.
There was a bill in the senate this year that would’ve exempted schools from paying for Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle reactors. It would’ve saved Georgia schools an estimated $11M – $13M per school year.
The bill did not pass, but we have two chances to fight back. One is to replace the two PSC members up for re-election this year: Tricia Pridemore and Chuck Eaton.
The other is to make sure our lawmakers reintroduce this legislation in 2019 so our schools aren’t on the hook for Georgia Power’s failures.
The Augusta Chronicle reported that Dade County Schools in northwest Georgia was charged $3,000 extra on its monthly electric bill for September 2016. The district is tiny by comparison with metro Atlanta districts, and serves only about 2,000 students compared with Atlanta’s almost 55,000.
The amount of extra costs that Dade County School District alone is paying to subsidize the failed Plant Vogtle project is nearly equivalent to one teacher’s salary.
How about using that money to give our teachers a raise, reduce class sizes, restore art and music programs or improve services for students with special needs?
The Public Service Commission exists to stop big energy corporations from unfairly taking advantage of ratepayers. But the five commissioners — all Republican — are not doing their jobs. It likely has a lot to do with the $7,700 utility lobbyist dinners.
But 2018 gives us a chance to shake things up at the commission and elect representatives who will fight for consumers rather than padding Georgia Power’s pockets while patting Georgia Power’s back for a job done