A new proposal, SB355, which boasts bipartisan support, would prevent utilities from collecting finance fees for a project beyond its initial completion date. This would be a huge blow to Georgia Power whose Plant Vogtle project is five years past schedule and $22 billion over budget.
This bill would shift the cost burden for the Plant Vogtle disaster back on Georgia Power. Ratepayers shouldn’t have to shoulder the cost of a project like Plant Vogtle, especially with no opening date in sight.
Republican Senator Chuck Hufstetler said the cap on costs has to be drawn somewhere. “What’s the line?” he said. “Is it $30 billion? Is it $50 billion? It’s just not a competitive energy source right now and we’re going to be stuck with those costs for decades.”
This bill also comes after a PSC estimate that Georgia Power could make over $5 billion more in profit from the delayed opening.
“I don’t think they should benefit from additional profit that the ratepayers have to pay just because of cost overruns,” Hufstetler said.
The bill also calls for the reimbursement of the finance fees, should the project be abandoned. It would also exempt public schools and charter schools from paying the monthly fee until Plant Vogtle was up and running. Georgia Power has been charging public schools thousands of dollars per month to offset the cost of Plant Vogtle.
It’s time Georgia Power is held accountable.“Georgia power is being rewarded for failure and it’s time to stop the bleeding. This bill would do that,” said Neill Herring, a lobbyist for several environmental groups.
With billions of dollars at stake for Georgia Power, it’s going to be a real battle to get this bill passed. With the PSC helping the energy monopoly at every step along the way, Georgia Power will surely be blocking this at every turn.
Although we’re going to do our best to get this passed, we need to remember the real win will come when we elect new candidates to the PSC this fall. We need to replace these out-of-touch, Georgia Power cronies with candidates that will really represent Georgia.