Tag Archives: Georgia Power

Vogtle’s fate no clearer after tense negotiations

Unknownby Kristi Swartz
9/26/18 The future of the nation’s lone nuclear construction project remained unclear last night as its utility partners continued to negotiate over how to handle its rising costs.

Expenses at Southern Co.’s Plant Vogtle expansion project have jumped $2.3 billion in just one year. Vogtle’s budget is roughly double what it was a decade ago, but the reactors were at a crossroads Monday when one of the business partners said it would walk away unless the construction costs were capped.

That talks among the developers — Southern’s Georgia Power Co., Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and Dalton Utilities Inc. — have been extended until 5 p.m. today is a sign that they are trying to keep the reactors going. That is a far cry from yesterday, when Oglethorpe and its utility partners aired their disagreements — and anger — in lengthy public statements.

Read the whole article: E&E News

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Crucial partner in Georgia nuclear project calls for cost cap

newsEngin.23116134_Vogtle-expanse-shotby Matt Kempner and Anastaciah Ondieki
9/24/18 ATLANTA – Dreams of a U.S. nuclear energy renaissance have faded around the country, but a lone project slated to be paid for by Georgia consumers and businesses continues to survive, despite a troubled history and massive cost overruns.

On Monday, the nuclear power expansion of Plant Vogtle cleared another hurdle. Sort of.

But this time a crucial partner in the project wants to cap future cost increases and shift more risk onto the parent of Georgia Power, the largest utility in the state.

The owners of the Vogtle project — representing most of the utilities in Georgia — voted to continue the project despite an additional $2.3 billion in cost overruns. The latest inflation in Vogtle’s pricetag triggered the vote, the second by the owners in a year.

But Oglethorpe Power, which represents electric membership corporations in metro Atlanta and around the state, said its board’s approval depends on concessions by lead owner Georgia Power’s parent, Southern Company.

Oglethorpe said it wants a cap on costs and for Southern to cover any costs above that, rather than sharing them with its co-owners.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Vogtle passes latest hurdle

5ba55bfeec385.imageby Ross Williams
9/24/18 SANDY SPRINGS — The $27 billion Plant Vogtle, America’s only new nuclear power plant under construction, has survived is latest challenge.

Two of the plant’s owners, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, or MEAG, and Oglethorpe Power, voted to move forward with the plan Monday.

MEAG provides electricity to its 49-member communities, including Marietta and Acworth. Oglethorpe supplies electricity to 39 of Georgia’s 41 electric membership corporations, including Cobb EMC, although Cobb EMC is not participating in the Plant Vogtle expansion. Oglethorpe did not respond to multiple requests asking where, when and whether a vote would take place.

MEAG passed it unanimously around 3 p.m., and Oglethorpe followed at about 8 p.m. with what it called a “conditional vote in support.” The utility said it will support continuing with the project if certain conditions are met, including an agreement to freeze the budget at its current place.

Read the whole article: Marietta Daily Journal

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Activists Push Co-owner, MEAG, to End the Insanity of Vogtle Units 3, 4

MEAG-1by Gloria Tatum
9/22/18 APN – On Thursday, September 20, 2018, activists insisted that the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), a minority co-owner of the pending two new nuclear reactors 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle, finally abandon the insanity that is their continued involvement in the project.

Since the previous report by Atlanta Progressive News on the Vogtle co-owners, Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) has now sued MEAG over the exploding financial cost of continuing construction on Plant Vogtle 3 and 4.

JEA wants out of its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which it has with MEAG to buy energy from Vogtle 3 and 4 for the next twenty years.

JEA claims that Vogtle has become too expensive and they can get energy cheaper from other companies in Georgia.

At the MEAG Power Board Meeting, JEA offered MEAG a way out of the Vogtle money vortex and still meet its contractual obligations to the co-owners and PPA partners.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News

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Vogtle nuke faces new vote as muni lawsuit puts construction at risk

7dec2074a824c355b09bf37e588ca45eby Robert Walton
9/14/18 UTILITY DIVE

Dive Brief:

  • Rising costs for the development of two new nuclear units at the Vogtle plant in Georgia have spawned dueling lawsuits between an owner of the project and a municipal utility that claims it never signed up for the perpetual cost increases — and if it did, it shouldn’t have been allowed to.
  • Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) has asked a Duval County, Fla., circuit court to find a 2008 power purchase agreement (PPA) to be unenforceable, claiming it violates the state’s constitution, laws and public policy, and the city’s elected leadership had not given its blessing to the deal.
  • Development of Units 3 and 4 was initially expected to cost $7.3 billion but over the years that price tag has ballooned to more than $27 billion. According to the Augusta Chronicle, JEA’s obligations over the 20-year life of its agreement could be more than $2 billion.

    Dive Insight:

    JEA is showing signs of buyer’s remorse, but given the nearly 400% cost increase it’s hard to blame the municipal utility.

    JEA is suing one of Vogtle’s owners, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), requesting a declaratory judgment that the PPA they agreed to cannot be enforced. The utility argues the Jacksonville City Council did not approve the deal; JEA’s board overstepped its authority in making the arrangement; and Florida law prohibits the contract.

    Read the whole article: Utility Dive

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A Crack in Co-owner Support for Vogtle, as Costs Skyrocket

vogtle-1-2-3-4by Gloria Tatum
9/8/18 (APN) ATLANTA — As the cost projections for the nuclear reactors 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle continue to skyrocket, co-owner support for Plant Vogtle is on increasingly shaky ground, especially as credit rating agencies are talking downgrades based upon the instability of cost projections around finishing the reactors.

Georgia Power’s announcement last month of an unexpected increase of 2.3 billion dollars more to complete Vogtle 3 and 4 has triggered confusion and the requirement for a vote by each of the co-owners on whether to continue participating in the project by late September 2018.

Georgia Power cannot assure that the price will not continue to go up or that the service date will not continue to be kicked down the road by ongoing delays.

This has spooked both Wall Street and some minority co-owners of Vogtle 3 and 4.

Moody’s Investors Services has already issued a downgrade to Georgia Power’s rating, saying the 2.3 billion dollar increase comes just eight months after the Georgia Public Service Commission signed off on the previous round of increased cost estimates.

Co-owners’ exposure to cost increases has no actual end in sight, and this has consequences for investors.  Additional downgrades for co-owners are expected.

Now, Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) wants out of its agreement with Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) to buy power from Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 for the next twenty years and to share in the construction cost.  MEAG is one of the co-owners of Vogtle 3 and 4, owning 22.7 percent of the project.

In addition, Oglethorpe Power–a thirty percent co-owner–will have to nearly exhaust its 490 million dollar contingency fund, according to a company press release.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News

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Will JEA Force The Shutdown Of Plant Vogtle Nuclear Construction?

19055271-15347976981380727by Michael Wald
8/21/18 WAYNESBORO

Summary

  • Georgia Power’s announcement of a $1.1 billion increase in its nuclear construction project understates the full $2.4 billion increase, which will be picked up by all of the construction partners.
  • One of the partners, MEAG Power, is facing a rebellion from JEA, a Florida utility contracted to buy its Plant Vogtle power.
  • If MEAG Power votes “no”, Georgia Power faces expensive choices of either buying out MEAG’s share or canceling the project altogether. SO shareholders will bear the cost of either choice.

If you listened to Southern Company’s (SO) second quarter earnings call, the news about increased costs for Plant Vogtle Units 3 & 4 was disheartening but not unexpected. Since that call an unhappy Florida utility might be the straw that brings down the project.

Read the whole article: Seeking Alpha

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Georgia General Assembly Votes to Sunset CWIP

stopCWIP_gov3/27/18 ATLANTA — Representatives of the Stop CWIP Coalition delivered a petition containing more than 3,000 signatures to Governor Nathan Deal’s office in support of the recent passage of Senate Bill 355 to sunset the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act of 2009 with the Vogtle 3 & 4 project. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signatures to become law.

In 2013 several groups launched the Stop CWIP Campaign with a petition drive to repeal the 2009 law. The groups forming the Stop CWIP Coalition are: ARRP (Aging Raging Rate Payers), Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace, Center for a Sustainable Coast, Georgia WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions) and Nuclear Watch South.

The groups delivered the petition entitled “Stop the Nuclear CWIP Tax” in support of Governor Deal’s anticipated signature to ratify Senate Bill 355 which sunsets the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act of 2009. The controversial law legalized collection of advance payments for Vogtle 3 & 4 which are under construction in Burke County. The nuclear tariff has been charged on residential and small business electric bills since 2011. The additional Vogtle reactors are currently less than half-built and are at least $5 billion over budget and five years behind schedule. Senate Bill 355 easily passed both the Senate and the House and now awaits Governor Deal’s signature.

Read the whole article: Nuclear Watch South

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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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