Tag Archives: Chuck Hufstetler

Watered down Plant Vogtle bill passes General Assembly

Unknownby Dave Williams
ATLANTA 3/20/18: Utilities building future nuclear power plants in Georgia will not be able to collect financing costs from ratepayers before the projects are completed without the approval of the General Assembly.

The Georgia House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill containing that provision on Wednesday. The measure already had passed the Senate overwhelmingly late last month.

The original version of the legislation introduced into the state Senate in January was aimed at Georgia Power Co.’s nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle. It would have prohibited the Atlanta-based utility from continuing to recover financing costs associated with the long delayed, over-budget project after the original timetable for completing the work had arrived.

Since the original completion dates for two additional nuclear reactors being built at the plant south of Augusta, Ga., have passed, the measure effectively would have repealed the nuclear “tariff” Georgia Power collects on customer bills each month.

However, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, the bill’s chief sponsor agreed to remove Plant Vogtle from the legislation as a condition to getting it through the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.

As a result, the final version of the bill applies only to any future nuclear plants Georgia Power or any other utility may contemplate building in Georgia. The legislation now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Business Chronicle

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Effort to end financing law gains steam in Ga.

by Kristi SwartzUnknown-2
ATLANTA 2/27/18 — A bill that would end the controversial financing law that’s being used to expand Plant Vogtle passed the Georgia Senate yesterday.

The measure would apply only to future nuclear reactors and would not affect Georgia Power Co.’s Plant Vogtle expansion project. Still, while the proposal (S.B. 355) does no immediate financial harm to Georgia Power, a unit of energy giant Southern Co., it carries major political significance.

Georgia Power is a political heavyweight at the state Capitol. The utility had roughly six dozen lobbyists help move the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act through the Legislature in 2009, allowing the electric company to bill customers for Vogtle’s reactors as they were being built.

At the time, Georgia Power and nuclear supporters argued that doing so would pay down interest costs and save customers money over time. It would also send a signal to Wall Street that the Peach State stood behind Georgia Power building the nation’s first nuclear project from scratch in nearly 30 years.

Vogtle is now the lone nuclear project under construction in the U.S. It is years behind schedule and billions above its forecast budget. The financing costs have now roughly doubled, causing many to question whether the Legislature needed to review the 2009 law.

“If you had asked me at the beginning of the session if any legislation would move in this area, I’d say, ‘Absolutely not,’” said state Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican from Columbus. “It’s one thing to stir up a hornet’s nest. It’s another to constructively engage Georgia Power, the other players, to come up with something that moves public policy in a direction that [the bill's sponsor] and I think it should be moving in.”

Read the whole article: E&E News

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Ga. panel votes to scrap project financing law with Vogtle carve-out

Unknown-1by Kristi Swartz
ATLANTA 2/16/18 — A Georgia Senate panel swiftly passed a bill that ends a controversial financing law for nuclear power plants but leaves Georgia Power Co.’s Plant Vogtle expansion project alone.

The measure is a pared-down version of a bill (S.B. 355) that would limit how much Georgia Power could profit from Vogtle, whose reactors are years behind schedule and billions of dollars above their original forecast budget. Georgia Power — known for its political muscle at the Capitol — did not oppose the new version passed yesterday.

Consumer advocates also did not testify but said after the meeting they hoped this measure would open the door for future inquiries by the Legislature.

“We remain hopeful that the Legislature will continue to look at the issues, and as they dig deeper, they will realize that we need to do something more,” Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch, said in an interview after yesterday’s Georgia Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee hearing. “At least we can say that something has gotten done where the Legislature is acknowledging that we can’t just keep this going unchecked.”

Read the whole article: E&E News

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Bill limiting Georgia Power profits would not apply to Vogtle delays

Unknown-3by Anastaciah Ondieki
ATLANTA 2/16/18: A newly proposed Senate Bill that would have limited charges on Georgia Power customer bills for the Vogtle nuclear expansion project has been amended, to apply only to future nuclear projects.

The amended version of Senate Bill 355, which received unanimous support from members of the Regulated Industries and Utilities committee Thursday, will target projects commissioned after January 1, 2018.

The bill, introduced by Rome Republican lawmaker Chuck Hufstetler also requires Georgia Power and other utility companies to seek prior authorization from Congress before pursuing new nuclear projects.

Hufstetler said Vogtle was not included in the bill as there would be no support to see it through the legislature.

He however said his decision to seek consumer protections for ratepayers stems from recent efforts by Georgia Power to seek a location for a new nuclear site in Stewart County.

The bill is now headed to the Senate Rules Committee.

“At least we can say something has gotten done with the legislators acknowledging we can’t let this keep going unchecked,” said Liz Coyle, the Executive Director of Georgia Watch.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal & Constitution

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