Monthly Archives: July 2013

Decision on Vogtle cost overruns delayed

Plant Vogtle construction 315*304by Dave Williams
7/31/13 ATLANTA – Georgia Power Co. and the state Public Service Commission have given themselves some breathing room before deciding how to handle cost overruns associated with the expansion of nuclear Plant Vogtle.

Under a stipulation agreement the Atlanta-based utility and the PSC staff filed Wednesday, Georgia Power will shelve its request to increase the certified cost of its portion of the $14 billion-plus project from $6.11 billion to $6.85 billion until after the first of two new nuclear reactors is completed at the plant south of Augusta, Ga.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Business Chronicle

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The End of the Electric Utilities? The Industry Thinks So Too

art-energy-620x349by Lewis Milford
7/26/13 HUFF POST – Will electric utilities go the way of black rotary-phones and daily print newspapers, squeezed out by technology innovation, competition, stranded capital costs, and consumers wanting to make their own electric power? If you said yes, you are not alone.

Even electric utility insiders seem to think this might happen, as solar, fuel cells, small wind, and other distributed forms of generation come on-line to displace big, centralized nuclear, gas and coal power plants.

In a publication that got too little attention when it was released in the dark days of this past winter, the electric industry’s trade group, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), issued one of those reports that industries rarely write. Written and paid for by the trade group, but not endorsed by it, it is a remarkable self-analysis. In it, advisers to EEI admitted that the very survival of electric utilities is at stake from the increasing use of distributed generation technologies like solar and energy efficiency programs across the country.

Read the whole article: Huffington Post

Read the report: Disruptive Challenges

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On Rooftops, a Rival for Utilities

UTILITY-articleLargeby Diane Cardwell
7/26/13 NY TIMES – For years, power companies have watched warily as solar panels have sprouted across the nation’s rooftops. Now, in almost panicked tones, they are fighting hard to slow the spread.

Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. At stake, the companies say, is nothing less than the future of the American electricity industry.

Read the whole story: New York Times

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Nathan Deal: Let Georgia Power eat some cost overruns at new nuke plants

248132_10151360795691525_1655332807_nby Jim Galloway

7/26/13 ATLANTA – Here’s some interesting timing for you.

On the same day he was publicly corrected for asserting that $737 million in cost overruns at two new nuclear plants were the fault of environmental litigators, Gov. Nathan Deal said he would be pleased if Georgia Power absorbed some of the added expenses.

Deal made the latter comments to WSAV on Tuesday. Emphasis ours:

“There are certainly points to be made on the side of those who say the company should absorb more of the cost and not pass it on to rate payers. Certainly, if that could be done, that would be a good solution,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “But I think we can’t lose sight of the fact that those two nuclear reactors will be the first new nuclear reactors in the United States in several decades and it’s — in my opinion — a necessary impact of keeping the state of Georgia with adequate power resources.”

Read the whole story:

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Crawford: Georgia Power doesn’t seem so powerful

Georgia_Power_Building_Ronhjonesby Tom Crawford

7/25/13 SAVANNAH – For many decades, Georgia Power has been the 800-pound gorilla in state politics.

Whatever the utility giant wanted, it usually got.

Georgia Power has been able to do this in large part because of a Public Service Commission that has been more of a rubberstamp than a regulatory commission.

The PSC is made up of five conservative members who are all Republicans. There aren’t any pesky liberals or tree-hugging environmentalists to complain that Georgia Power is making too much money or running too many power plants that emit greenhouse gases.

Read the whole article: Savannah Now

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King: We keep enabling our political problems

Joan_Kingby Joan King

7/23/13 GAINESVILLE – What do we mean when we say someone is an “enabler?”

It’s one of those words we bandy about when we observe addictive behavior in a family or social setting. It’s usually about alcohol or drugs, but can be almost any self-destructive habit. We see enabling in other people but deny that we do it ourselves.

It works like this: Dad drinks too much. Mom pops pills. Their teenager is on street drugs, but it’s family so people make excuses. Mom covers for Dad when he has a hangover. Dad forgives Mom because she is going through “the change” or caring for elderly parents. The teenager … well, he or she is basically a good kid who has made one or two bad choices. Give them a little time; they’ll straighten up.

Read the whole article:  The Gainesville Times

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FACT CHECK: Deal mistaken on nuclear plant costs

By RAY HENRY | Vogtle_concretepour_smThe Associated Press

7/23/13 ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal claimed last week that environmental litigation was running up the construction costs of a nuclear power plant in Georgia, despite abundant evidence to the contrary from the utility building it and an independent state monitor.

The Republican governor is a longtime supporter of the nuclear power industry. He made the remark last week just before Southern Co. executives gave their first public testimony since announcing the utility needed another $737 million to build two reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH’-gohl), raising the project budget to $6.85 billion. That cost is ultimately paid by the utility’s customers, unless state regulators object.

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Georgia Power wants customers to pay more to fund new nuke reactors

1374257632-_rw30339_wtextby Joeff Davis

7/19/13 ATLANTA – Less than one week since the Public Service Commission’s vote to force Georgia Power to increase its use of solar energy, the state utility regulatory agency is hearing about another contentious issue involving the massive utility.

Yesterday’s PSC hearing focused on whether Georgia Power will be allowed to increase what its customers pay to cover cost overruns for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. Ratepayers already pay an additional fee of around 5 percent each month for a “nuclear construction cost recovery fee” to fund the building of the reactors.

Read the whole article: Creative Loafing

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PSC begins review of Vogtle overage

Vogtle_aerial_7-13from Wire Reports

7/18/13 ATLANTA – Georgia Power executives repeated assurances that the utility would be better at managing costs Thursday in the first day of hearings on raising the construction budget for its work at Plant Vogtle.

The executives fielded critical questions Thursday during their first testimony since announcing the firm could not meet its state-approved budget to build two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power has asked to raise the budget for its share of the massive project by $737 million to roughly $6.85 billion.

“The trend is delay and overruns,” Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise said. “Is there any reason to believe the trend is not going to continue through the construction phase?”

Read the whole article: Augusta Chronicle
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Environmentalists, Tea Party Patriots Win Solar Expansion at PSC

by Gloria Tatumsolarpanels_house

7/17/13 (APN) ATLANTA — After weeks of advocacy by environmental groups and their unlikely allies, the Tea Party Patriots, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on July 11, 2013 voted three to two in favor of an amendment by Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald (District 4) to increase the amount of solar energy in Georgia Power’s energy mix by one percent.

Commissioners McDonald, Tim Echols (District 2), and Doug Everett (District 1) voted in favor of the amendment to Georgia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), while Chuck Eaton (District 3) and Stan Wise (District 5) voted against.

Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News
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