by Matt Kempner
8/6/17 ATLANTA: Our bumbling aspiration in Georgia to build more nuclear power is looking suspiciously like that wooden block game, Jenga.
You know, the one where you take turns pulling out a block at a time, hoping not to topple the teetering tower.
How many pieces can be pulled out before Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle metaphorically collapses and takes with it billions of dollars in consumer money?
The few remaining blocks left at the project’s base look shaky to me. (Well, except maybe Georgia Power’s eagerness to continue with a project the state ensures will be delightfully profitable for the power company even though Vogtle is billions of dollars over budget and years behind on completion.)
Small community power systems across the state may be the next blocks to be yanked out of the last nuclear plant still under construction in the U.S.
If you happen to notice what just happened across the border in South Carolina, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
by Gloria Tatum
6/11/17 (APN) ATLANTA — Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald (District 4) filed a motion to give Georgia Power ratepayers a break by asking the company to suspend collecting the nuclear construction tax, or CWIP.
But it had as much chance as a snowball in hell of being honored by the PSC or Georgia Power. The Commission voted to hold the motion and refer it to the Georgia Attorney General for an opinion, in a four to one vote on June 06, 2017.
“I move that the Commission request that the Company voluntarily agree that as of July 1, 2017, it will stop collecting any financing charges under the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) tariff,” McDonald’s motion read.
“Effective July 1, 2017, the Company will utilize Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC) accounting treatment on the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) balance of all Unit 3 and 4 capital costs,” the motion stated.
by Matt Kempner
ATLANTA 6/7/16 — Some really great deals are only great if someone else pays for them.
The state’s largest power company has just such a deal for us.
Georgia Power insists it’s really important and prudent to spend nearly $175 million so the company can investigate building a nuclear plant on land it owns south of Columbus in Stewart County. Executives testified that the investment is “in the best interest of its customers.”
But that certainty magically evaporates if Georgia Power has to pay for the exploration itself.
The company – a government-regulated monopoly — said last week that it would pull the plug on its review if state regulators don’t allow it to charge Georgia Power customersfor the entire cost of the exploration. Customers should pay even if a plant is never built on the site, according to the company. Those costs would be incorporated in monthly power bills eventually.
by Russell Grantham
ATLANTA 6/3/16 —At least one of Georgia’s utility regulators says he doesn’t think Georgia Power’s customers should have to foot a $175 million bill up front to study a potential site for a new nuclear plant near Columbus.
Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald told fellow members of the Public Service Commission Thursday that he plans to introduce a motion in the future that would deny the company’s request for the study funding.
McDonald said his motion wouldn’t prevent Georgia Power from going ahead with the study, but it’s “premature” to ask customers to pay for it before 2019.
by Russell Grantham
3/18/15 — Georgia Power has chosen a site south of Columbus where it may build a new nuclear plant sometime after 2030, according to documents filed with state regulators.
The company said it has not decided yet to build more nuclear plants in Georgia, but confirmed that it has begun preliminary studies for a possible plant on 7,000 acres that it owns next to the Chattahoochee River in northern Stewart County.
The rural county is just below Fort Benning and Columbus in west Georgia.
by Gloria Tatum
(APN) ATLANTA 2/17/16 — A pro-consumer bill, HB 931, co-sponsored by State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale), calls for an end to the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) surcharge on Georgia Power electric bills after March 2017.
NCCR is a statewide surcharge that all Georgia Power residential and small business electricity customers pay every month.
It is about eight percent of one’s total bill with additional periodic rate increases.
Georgia Power’s two new nuclear reactors, Vogtle 3 and 4, originally were scheduled for completion in 2017, and at that time the surcharge was to expire.
However, Georgia Power is over three years behind schedule, and almost three billion dollars over-budget, with only 26 percent of the construction complete.
by Walter C. Jones
ATLANTA 2/3/16 — Electricity customers and the public will get a detailed look at what’s to blame for cost overruns in the construction of two nuclear reactors slated for power generation after a divided Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to begin its examination.
Also, one commissioner called on the legislature to make Georgia Power stop billing customers for the reactors because construction is about to exceed the original completion date.
The detailed probe of what Georgia Power has spent is expected to take 14 months to examine the delays that have added nearly $1 billion to the Plant Vogtle expansion.