Georgia Power will rack up billions of dollars in cost overruns for its disastrous Plant Vogtle expansion, and over the past seven years, it has passed the cost of this debacle onto its consumers — that’s every Georgian that uses the monopoly’s service.
Two weeks ago, the Georgia Public Service Commission held a week’s worth of hearings to decide whether or not to continue the project – the first time a decision like this is on the table since the project was originally approved in 2009.
Unsurprisingly, Georgia Power is already laying the groundwork for further disasters. The company expects more money – from consumers, tax credits and federal funding, of course – to complete the project and indicated that the plant, originally scheduled to be up and running by 2016, may take until 2022 – or longer. Who can be sure?
In fact, how Georgia Power and its partners exactly plan to finish this overdue project is fuzzy, and I’m having trouble myself finding answers on the PSC website and in the news. This is just another red flag – information on public works projects should be readily available to the consumers who are funding it — especially when the projects are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.
The Commission is not expected to announce a decision until February, but if their track record is any indication, we can expect to see more overruns and delays. In fact, some PSC members have already publicly stated that they’d prefer if the project could push forward.
The commissioners, Chuck Eaton, Tim Echols, Stan Wise, Doug Everett and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., have done nothing to protect consumers like you and me, year after year.
In 2011, the commissioners left consumers extremely vulnerable when they failed to demand that Georgia Power share in the financial responsibility and risk of the Plant Vogtle project.
But fortunately for Georgia voters, we can hit these commissioners where it hurts – at the polls.
Each commissioner is elected by a statewide election, regardless of the district they’re from. That means you can cast your vote against all of these commissioners when their term is over. Eaton’s and Wise’s terms are up in 2018, and Everett’s and McDonald’s terms end in 2020.
These elections are our chance to show the PSC members that we will not reelect officials that don’t stand up for Georgians.
But you don’t have to wait until 2018 to be heard.
You can contact the commissioners today and let them know they need to put a STOP to the Plant Vogtle debacle. Tell them to protect consumers like us.
You can call the PSC’s office at (404) 656-4501.
Here are the commissioners’ emails:
Chuck Eaton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Echols: email@example.com
Doug Everett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr.: email@example.com
Stan Wise: firstname.lastname@example.org