Georgia Power and partners appeal for completion of Plant Vogtle


Georgia Power and partner companies overseeing the construction of nuclear plant, Vogtle, presented a united appeal Monday to PSC commissioners, as hearings began on the fate of the embattled nuclear power plant.

The CEO’s led by Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers argued the project would present “the best economic choice” and “long-term benefits to customers.”

“We believe nuclear is the dominant solution. We are confident you will make the right long-term solution for the people in Georgia,” Bowers told the commissioners.

A statement by Georgia power said the CEO’s and their boards unanimously agreed to the expansion of Vogtle 3 and 4.

The unity could be challenged by a revision in August of their contract agreement, allowing the co-owners of the project, Oglethorpe, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and Dalton Utilities to abandon the project if the PSC disallows costs and schedule. Under a previous agreement, co-owners could not unilaterally abandon the agreement.

The new agreement worries commissioners and consumers alike, as the risk of project abandonment by the co-owners could be imminent.

Following Westinghouse’s exit due to bankruptcy the contract is now managed by Southern Nuclear, an affiliate of Georgia Power’s parent company Southern company.

Dividing issue

Plant Vogtle’s construction has attracted both support and opposition within the state. Proponents and opponents of the project presented arguments before the packed commission hearing why the project, marred by cost over-runs, incessant delays and the March bankruptcy of Toshiba’s Westinghouse, should or should not be given a go-ahead.

Debbie Dooley of the Atlanta Tea Party called for the company to “add consumer protections and shift part of the financial burden to Southern Company shareholders.” She argued placing caps on construction costs on Vogtle would safeguard customers from Vogtle’s financial burden.

The commissioners now face the task of evaluating the cost and schedule estimates presented by Georgia power, to determine the fate of the project.

“There was always some chance this commission would rule that some of the costs were unreasonable.” Commissioner Chuck Eaton said.

Georgia Power and its co-owners however want to know whether these estimates are reasonable before going on.

“We need to know before we spend additional dollars,” said Bowers.

In March, plant Vogtle’s lead contractor Westinghouse Electric- owned by Tokyo based Toshiba Corp., filed for bankruptcy citing financial losses. The project was already three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget.

Westinghouse’s bankruptcy resulted in the shut-down of a $14 billion project in neighboring South Carolina in August, with partners citing increasing risks, incessant delays and cost overruns. Westinghouse was also the lead contractor in the project.

Expansion of the project, to include two additional nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle which began in 2009 has been hampered by falling natural gas prices and competition from alternatives such as solar and wind power.

The project has been marred by numerous delays and cost overruns, with Southern company, which owns Georgia Power, saying project completion date, initially set for 2017, would run past 2022.

Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the project and currently spends $50 million per month of its share on the project, with its customers financing the project through surcharges on their bills. Other co-owners of the project include Oglethorpe Power (30%), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%).

In August, a $14 billion nuclear project in South Carolina overseen by Westinghouse was shut down, with major stakeholders citing the company’s bankruptcy, skyrocketing costs, project delays and the falling demand for energy.

Plant Vogtle is one of the two nuclear power plants in Georgia. 



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

CDC researcher Cunningham remembered for work ethic, passion
CDC researcher Cunningham remembered for work ethic, passion

Timothy Cunningham loved his little sister so much, he took her to “show and tell” at his elementary school, telling his classmates she made him feel warm and fuzzy inside. Theirs was an inseparable bond, despite the eight years between them. On Saturday, Tiara Cunningham told hundreds gathered inside a Morehouse College chapel that her...
Social media reacts to neo-Nazi rally in Newnan
Social media reacts to neo-Nazi rally in Newnan

On Saturday, the National Socialist Movement, a far-right hate group that celebrates Adolf Hitler’s birthday, gathered for a rally at a park in downtown Newnan. » RELATED: LIVE UPDATES: Neo-Nazi rally planned Saturday afternoon in Newnan About 25 neo-Nazis showed up and anti-fascist demonstrators as well as hundreds of police...
Tex McIver murder trial deliberations drag on — what does it mean?
Tex McIver murder trial deliberations drag on — what does it mean?

Late Friday, the seven men and five women serving as jurors in the Tex McIver murder trial called it quits and went home for the weekend without reaching a verdict. Experts say their deliberations – roughly 24 hours over four days – are unusually long for a criminal trial. That’s perhaps fitting for a case that has been characterized...
LIVE UPDATES: Neo-Nazi rally met by counterprotesters, police in Newnan
LIVE UPDATES: Neo-Nazi rally met by counterprotesters, police in Newnan

HAPPENING NOW: Watch what’s happening with live video coverage from our reporting partner, Channel 2 Action News. Click or tap here for the breaking news.  4:55 P.M.: National Socialist Movement leader Jeff Schoep, in a loud, rambling speech, claimed his group represents “the vanguard of the white race.” ...
NYC postal worker arrested after police find 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail
NYC postal worker arrested after police find 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail

A New York City postal worker was arrested Thursday after 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail were found in his car, apartment and locker, authorities said. Aleksey Germash, who has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 16 years, possessed undelivered mail since 2005, WPIX reported. He told investigators he held onto the mail because...
More Stories