A bill from Sen. Chuck Hufstetler that would have finally slammed Georgia Power with the consequences of its Plant Vogtle disaster suddenly lost its bite in the Georgia Legislature last Thursday.
The provisions that would hold Georgia Power accountable for Plant Vogtle were slashed from the bill.
The Regulated Industries and Utilities committee unanimously passed the new legislation — easy to do once the most critical part of the bill had been stripped away.
The nuclear power plant was supposed to be completed years ago 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 that uses Georgia Power has footed the monstrous bill for Plant Vogtle.
In fact, Georgia Power’s customers have paid about $2 billion toward the nuclear project from their monthly utility bills.
Hufstetler’s original proposal would have finally put a limit on this running tab, but suddenly the language around Plant Vogtle was removed.
Now, the bill will only place limits on projects commissioned after January 1, 2018. The legislation also requires Georgia Power and other utility companies to seek prior authorization from Congress before pursuing new nuclear projects.
The abrupt change in the bill is suspicious, and there’s little mystery about where the idea to let Georgia Power off the hook for Plant Vogtle came from.
So far, in the 2018 election cycle, Georgia Power has already spent almost $90,000 on lobbying.
Meanwhile, they’ve continued to pass off costs for their failure with Plant Vogtle to ratepayers.
The PSC has refused to put Georgia Power in check, allowing the corporation to push forward with their failure of a project again and again.
But we can push back.
Each of the commissioners of PSC is elected by a statewide election, and this year, Chuck Eaton and Stan Wise’s terms are up. Wise recently stepped down from his position, and Gov. Deal appointed conservative activist Tricia Pridemore to his seat. We need to replace Pridemore and Eaton with a progressive candidate that will vote to protect Georgians this November.
Candidates will begin qualifying to run in March. In May, voters can cast their ballots in the party primaries to see which candidates will face off in the November race.
Let’s replace Pridemore and Wise with commissioners who will listen to Georgians and put a stop to Plant Vogtle.