Tag Archives: Vogtle

CEO of Georgia powerhouse skips the whole apology thing

bowersby Matt Kempner
11/8/17 ATLANTA: If you made a giant mess that your neighbors were going to end up paying for, would you take a moment to apologize to them? Perhaps at least mumble something about “regret”?

Georgia Power’s CEO did not utter such words the other day. Not even close.

CEO Paul Bowers made a rare personal appearance at a hearing before the Georgia Public Service Commission this week. He was there to explain why state regulators should continue the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project and force the company’s customers — his neighbors — to take on way more risk and billions in additional costs because the project has careened off the rails.

“We understand that this is a complex and difficult decision,” Bowers told the elected body.
The project was supposed to be producing electricity before now. Instead, after years of busted assurances and forecasts, Georgia Power’s latest estimate is for completion in another five years.

Maybe. Because now it’s also warning that there’s a whole lot that still could go wrong to screw up its latest projection. So, don’t hold Georgia Power accountable to that timetable.

Bowers didn’t hint at any remorse during what apparently was his only appearance in a Georgia PSC hearing since getting Georgia Power’s top job almost seven years ago. As Sir Elton sang: “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.”

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Time to decide if you pay more for Georgia’s nuclear debacle

by Matt KempnerVogtle_ajc_8-3-17
11/3/17 ATLANTA: Don’t read beyond this sentence if you don’t pay a power bill in Georgia and never will.

Otherwise, get your wallet out.

There’s a bit of show biz about to start Monday in hearings with elected state regulators. When it’s over, it’s likely to end up costing you and your Georgia descendents for decades to come.

That’s because the only giant, deeply delayed, steeply over-budget nuclear power construction project still underway in the U.S. may well get another wink and pat on the back from Georgia regulators.

So far, Georgia politicians have failed to enact significant consumer protections that would limit a government-enforced monopoly (Georgia Power) from sidestepping the vast majority of risk while raking in extra (extra!) profits on the overruns for the company’s Plant Vogtle expansion.

Elected members of the Georgia Public Service Commission start the first of four days of hearings Monday. It’s Round One in what on paper could be a momentous decision after years of complex construction plagued by unfinished designs, incomplete scheduling, flawed parts and workmanship, insufficient oversight early on and too much worker downtime.

The PSC accepted the setbacks, missteps and busted budget in the past. But now PSC members are faced with their first go/no-go vote since originally approving the project in 2009. That’s because the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the project’s main contractor, throws significantly more risk and cost into the mix.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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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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Conservative group taking Georgia Power to task on Vogtle costs overrun

4364312_web1_0901NuclearLeadby Tom Corwin
10/11/17 AUGUSTA: A conservative Georgia group is calling out Georgia Power on the cost overruns on two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle and wants to repeal a state law that allows the company to pass along those costs to ratepayers while construction is underway.

The call puts the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots on the side of some more liberal groups opposing the project but President Debbie Dooley said some issues appeal to all sides. The group is also vowing to make it an issue in next year’s Public Service Commission elections.

The Atlanta Tea Party opposed Senate Bill 31 in 2009 that allowed Georgia Power to recoup the nuclear expansion costs at Vogtle and has supported efforts since to repeal it. But with the failure of a somewhat similar project in South Carolina at the V.C. Summer nuclear site, and the ensuing fallout over its ongoing burden on those ratepayers, Dooley said she believes there is renewed momentum to make the change in Georgia.

“I think there is a bigger demand for it this time because it is in the news,” she said. In the past, “I think people wanted to give Georgia Power the benefit of the doubt. But there’s no benefit of the doubt now.”

Read the whole article: Augusta Chronicle

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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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Georgia Power has nuked their credibility

by Jay Bookman
8/8/17 ATLANTA: It really is hard to believe.

Eight years after Georgia Power officials confidently assured us that they had this nuclear thing figured out, that two new units at Plant Vogtle could be brought in on budget and on time, leading a supposed renaissance in the U.S. nuclear industry, it’s all in danger of collapsing.

The projected cost of those units has almost doubled, to $25 billion and counting. Completion is still years away, and the prime contractor has gone bankrupt. Last month, construction of two similar units in South Carolina, facing similar cost overruns and delays, was abandoned after it became clear that the additional investment needed to complete the units could not be justified.

Now it’s Georgia’s turn.

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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Millions collected from schools, taxpayers for Vogtle construction

2812409_web1_Plant-Vogtleby Thomas Gardiner

6/11/17: Since 2009, Georgia Power customers have been paying up front for construction costs at the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion.

Some public entities will have paid more than $1 million for construction before a single kilowatt hour of energy is generated by the expansion.

Georgia Power extended its interim agreement with Westinghouse by 24 hours recently to give the two companies time to finalize a transition agreement as the utility company takes over in the wake of the Westinghouse bankruptcy. That bankruptcy was fueled by cost overruns at the Plant Vogtle and VC Summer nuclear expansion projects.

According to legislation passed in 2009, Georgia Power shall collect costs related to nuclear construction financing and interest to support the plant’s construction, even though the project failed to meet its operational deadline in 2016.

Read the whole article: Savannah Morning News

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PSC Commissioner Moves for Georgia Power to Stop Collecting Nuclear Tax

bubba-2by 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.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News

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