Tag Archives: rate increase

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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Georgia Power vs. the law of holes

Plant-Vogtle-construction-2014by Lyle Harris
10/16/17 ATLANTA Georgia Power is likely to get another shot-in-the-arm after announcing plans to complete construction on those ill-fated nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro.

A more appropriate response to this epic boondoggle, of course, would be a swift kick in the pants. But don’t count on it.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has scheduled hearings on November 6 to discuss the troubled project, Along with the Southern Company (Georgia Power’s corporate parent) and the smaller utilities that are partners on the Plant Vogtle expansion, there’s little reason to worry about some silly old hearings. While the PSC is ostensibly charged with balancing the interests of the utility with those of its customers, the scales are reliably tipped in Georgia Power’s favor.

The planned reactors at Plant Vogtle were supposed to be up and running by now but they’re only about one-third complete. A series of major snafus and setbacks (including the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric which designed and was building the reactors) has increased chances that Georgia households will be picking up more of the tab.

Read the whole article: Saporta Report

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Georgia nuke backers scramble for reasons to keep going

newsEngin.19674583_Southern-AGL.JPEG-0b4bdby Matt Kempner
8/26/17 ATLANTA: There’s a mad scramble underway to come up with new reasons for why Georgians should continue to pay billions of dollars to expand nuclear power in the state. National security! Push back against Russia and China! Healthcare!

Seriously? Yeah, if you believe elected officials, who in the next few days are supposed to get new cost estimates and recommendations from the state’s biggest electric provider.

It seemed like only yesterday when Georgia Power convinced politicians on the Georgia Public Service Commission that a primary reason for expanding Plant Vogtle was because it was the cheapest way to cool our homes, charge our iPhones and keep industry chugging.

Proponents can no longer say that without twitching.

Four years ago, the PSC’s outside financial monitor warned that because of cheap natural gas and, to some extent, rising Vogtle costs, “if a decision had to be made today to build a new nuclear project, it would not be justified on the basis of these results.”

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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‘Idle’ workers cited at delayed Vogtle nuclear power project

Unknownby Matt Kempner
6/16/17: Add “idle” workers to the list of troubles at Georgia Power’s struggling nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle.

Construction workers are supposed to be toiling away on the project that’s already three years behind schedule and falling farther behind.

But a state monitor recently testified that “idle time, early quits and late starts remained high” among construction workers on the first new-from-scratch U.S. nuclear energy project in 30 years.

“Low productivity has been a continuing issue,” according to written testimony by the construction monitor, William Jacobs, and Steven Roetger, a Georgia Public Service Commission staffer assigned to oversight of the project. They cited reviews by a consultant for the project’s contractor.

Attempts to improve the pace of work had little effect on productivity in the last year, they added. In fact, crucial parts of the construction have faced growing delays.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Vogtle completion ‘uneconomic,’ Ga. PSC consultants say

moneyreactors-300x300by  Colby Bermel
6/13/17: Consultants to the Georgia Public Service Commission said June 8 that Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC’s bankruptcy has “invalidated” Georgia Power Co.’s cost calculations at its Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant and it would be “uneconomic” to complete the plant’s expansion.

The consultants also said that if Georgia Power were to continue construction, the Southern Co. subsidiary will spend $3 billion more on Vogtle than what it predicted in a recent report and the plant’s new units will go online three years later than the company anticipates.

Philip Hayet and Lane Kollen, both vice presidents and principals at J. Kennedy and Associates in Roswell, Ga., submitted written testimony to the commission on behalf of its Public Interest Advocacy Staff. The state agency is conducting a review of Georgia Power’s $222 million in Vogtle construction costs during the second half of 2016 for the Vogtle Construction Monitoring Report, or VCM.

Read the whole article: S&P Global Market Intelligence

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Georgia Power profits off Plant Vogtle construction despite cost overruns, delays, and contractor bankruptcy

Vogtle_construction17by Anne Maxwell
WAYNESBORO, Ga. 5/8/17: The construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle is years behind schedule and billions over budget. Last month, the contractor, Westinghouse Electric, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Plant Vogtle employees hundreds of people in Burke County and the temporary contract with Westinghouse expires Friday, which means the project’s future after that is up in the air.

An attorney for Georgia Power, which is one of the main owners of Plant Vogtle, has said all options are on the table. They could totally shut down the project, or build only one of the two reactors they are currently constructing. There has also been talk of converting it to a natural gas plant, but it is not clear whether that would be economical. Or they could continue building despite even higher costs.

But no matter what happens, Georgia Power is still going to make a profit.

Read the whole story and see video: ABC News Channel 6 wjbf.com

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Troubled nuclear plant costs rising for Savannah residents

Georgia_Power_ratepayerby Mary Landers
SAVANNAH 4/8/2017: The costs for Georgia Power’s troubled Plant Vogtle are adding up, but not for the utility or its investors.

Instead, ratepayers are already paying for the two new nuclear reactors, both of which may never produce a watt of electricity. How much have customers already dished out? For southside Savannah customer Cornelia Stumpf, the Vogtle bills already total more than $500.

Read the whole story: Savannah Morning News

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Ga. Power takes heat on nuke study costs

GranthamRussellby Russell Grantham
ATLANTA 6/8/16 — Georgia Power officials were grilled by state utility regulators at a hearing Wednesday on why they think customers should pay for a preliminary study for a possible new nuclear plant near Columbus.

The Atlanta-based utility has asked the Public Service Commission to approve $175 million for the study of a Stewart County site as part of its updated 20-year power generation plan.

Those costs, which could ultimately grow to $300 million because of the way they are stretched out, would eventually be paid by Georgia Power’s customers, whether or not the company decided to build the new nuclear plant.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Unofficial Business: Ga. Power scopes out new nuke, at our expense

022215-nuke-price-bs11by 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 customers for 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.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal & Constitution

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Unofficial Business: Georgia Power aims to dump its overruns on you

022215-nuke-price-bs18by Matt Kempner
ATLANTA 4/13/16 — What do you call overruns on a project that’s more than three years delayed and at least $1.7 billion over budget?

Reasonable and prudent. At least if you are Georgia Power and you want customers to swallow every penny of the mistakes that would otherwise be the utility monopoly’s responsibility for its adventures in nuclear expansion.

“Every dollar, and every day, that has been invested has been necessary to complete these new units safely and correctly,” Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers asserted in a recent filing to state regulators.

The company uses the words “prudent” and “reasonable” a lot in the filing because that’s the legal measure of whether the extra costs can be pushed onto customers’ monthly power bills for the company’s troubled Plant Vogtle expansion.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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