SACE’s Sara Barczak contributed content to this blog.
This has been an intense week for the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project so here’s a quick blog to get you updated. SACE has been on the ground at the public hearings all week where we learned that Georgia’s Public Service Commissioners have expedited their timeline to make a decision on Georgia Power’s request to double the estimated costs for Plant Vogtle to December 21, not February 2018, like originally scheduled! Georgia Power is asking to push those costs onto YOU, instead of its shareholders. With less time to flood the inboxes of the Commissioners, we really need your help!
Please take a moment to voice your concerns by Dec 20th with the five elected Commissioners before their vote on the 21st. We encourage you to personalize your letters, which only takes a few minutes!
Recent news headlines say it all:
- AJC’s Front page – “PSC staff says cancel Vogtle if project remains ‘uneconomic’“
- Savannah Morning News – “Utility regulator staff report: Protect customers or stop expansion work on Plant Vogtle“
- Charleston’s Post & Courier – “Georgia’s nuclear project could be canceled like South Carolina’s, utility watchdogs say”
- Washington Post – “Georgia regulatory staff calls the last U.S. nuclear construction project uneconomic”
Bottom Line: The economics of the Vogtle project, in part made worse by reactor designer and builder Westinghouse’s bankruptcy earlier this year, no longer work for customers despite Georgia Power’s announcement that they secured the full $3.7 billion Toshiba Parent Guarantee. The five elected Public Service Commissioners are now considering the project’s fate, which has doubled in costs since its original proposal to ~$25 billion, and is at least five years delayed as both reactors were scheduled for operation in 2016 and 2017.
The financial impacts for this failed project, thus far, have fallen harder on residential and small commercial customers as compared to large industrial customers. In a recent blog post, SACE demonstrated the disproportionate burdens were partially the result of pay-in-advance payments.
If the project continues, customers’ wallets aren’t the only things that would be drained. The serious environmental degradation Plant Vogtle’s expansion would cause prompted the Georgia Water Coalition to once again select the water-guzzling culprit for their annual “Dirty Dozen” report. The Coalition, of which SACE is an active partner, also called upon the PSC to cancel the project and pursue low-carbon, less water-intensive, affordable energy choices such as solar, wind and energy efficiency and conservation.
Though a Commission decision was not expected on this very important matter until February 2018, Chairman Wise, who announced that he will not serve out his term and will resign shortly after the Vogtle vote, abruptly pushed for an expedited decision to be made on December 21.
If you’re a Georgia Power customer or have friends and family who are, please take action TODAY!