“Nine years into construction, the Vogtle expansion is billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule and at least four years away from completion.”
This year is an election year, you’ve undoubtedly noticed, and there are two seats up for grabs on Georgia’s Public Service Commission, the body that has been approving deadline extensions and cost overruns for Plant Vogtle. And these are statewide elections, so everyone gets to vote in both district races, regardless of if they live in the district or not.
The Plant Vogtle overruns have been allowed to continue — even after the main contractor on the project declared bankruptcy and abruptly backed out — thanks to the Public Service Commission. These cost overruns mean higher energy bills for Georgians.
This body regulates utilities, and is supposed to to decide on fair and reasonable rates, providing Georgia ratepayers a say in how these for-profit companies charge us for essential services like gas and electricity.
Instead, the PSC is an entirely GOP body that has continued to approve every extension Georgia Power’s parent company Southern Co. has asked for in the Plant Vogtle project.
Last year, Georgia’s Public Service Commissioners were treated to an $7,700 dinner for their ongoing support for these policies that keep Georgians on the hook for a project that is years behind schedule and billions over budget.
Republican Chuck Eaton, who currently represents District 3 (centered on Atlanta), faces Democratic contender Lindy Miller. Third party candidate, Ryan Graham, representing the Libertarian Party is also in the race.
Republican Tricia Pridemore, handpicked by Gov. Nathan Deal to replace her predecessor when he retired early, is the Commissioner for District 5, which extends from Marietta through North Georgia.
Pridemore is running against Democrat Dawn Randolph and Libertarian John Turpish.
Again: it doesn’t matter if you live in the district or not, ALL voters in Georgia elect ALL the commissioners.
It’s not just the disastrous Plant Vogtle expansion that’s at stake. The PSC can shape how Georgia invests in green energy sources, like solar and wind, and moves away from environmental hazardous sources of energy like coal and nuclear (which creates a waste product that takes hundreds of thousands of years to break down).
This is a down-ballot election that should be on every voters’ radar. It’s time for the PSC to be accountable to the ratepayers of Georgia, and not the big energy companies looking to profit off of us.