Plant Vogtle Expansion in the Spotlight: billion$ more at risk

Guest Blog | November 8, 2019 | Georgia, Nuclear, Utilities

On the heels of public hearings before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on Georgia Power’s controversial $2.2 billion rate increase request, the “Elephant in the Room” will be in the spotlight: the over budget, more than five year delayed Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion. The PSC will hold a hearing this Tuesday for Georgia Power witnesses to testify about the project’s status in the combined 20th/21st semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) proceeding.

In the 19th VCM, approved last February, the Commission decided to combine the next two reporting periods, which SACE and others opposed, and as predicted, Georgia Power has since spent a lot on the mismanaged nuclear project. The Company is now asking for verification and approval of $1.248 billion in expenditures. And that’s just for Georgia Power’s 45.7% share of the costs incurred during the reporting period from July 2018 to June 2019 for the two new AP1000 reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, along the Savannah River.

Plant Vogtle. Photo courtesy of High Flyer 2019.

The continuing saga is like a broken record in each of these VCM proceedings, and it remains mostly the same upon reading Georgia Power’s report and the witnesses’ written testimony, which will be discussed before the Commission on Tuesday.

The project (again) isn’t meeting the productivity goals and appears to be falling further behind schedule, but Georgia Power remains confident (again) that they will somehow have Unit 3 online by November 2021 and Unit 4 by November 2022. Remember, these reactors were supposed to both be operational by April 2017!

And (again) Georgia Power provides itself an out, pointing (again) to a multitude of potential “challenges” in the months ahead that could impact the schedule and most importantly ultimate costs to the utility customers. Because of consistent delays and mismanagement, the currently-projected total cost of this project has more than doubled from the original $14.1 billion estimate to over $28 billion.

Georgia Power customers concerned about their utility bills should let the Commission know that not only are they worried about how the proposed rate hike will affect their bills, but are also very concerned about what happens when the other shoe drops – when Plant Vogtle’s final budget-busting price tag gets rolled into customer’s electricity rates.

Unable to attend the November 12 hearing? Watch online starting at 9am ET via the PSC’s livestream feed and contact the PSC with your concerns.

WATCH THE PSC LIVESTREAM CONTACT THE PSC

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This blog post was written by Sara Barczak, SACE consultant and former Regional Advocacy Director.

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