Commissioner Stan Wise resigned from the PSC Tuesday. KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM File Photo

Stan Wise resigns from Georgia PSC, says unsure of new Plant Vogtle completion dates

Georgia Public Service Commission Chair Stan Wise who announced his resignation last October chaired his last administrative session Tuesday, after serving the utility regulatory body for 24 years.

Wise, who has served with 11 different commissioners during his tenure, has been the commission’s chair since January 2017.

“I salute my colleagues for what they’ve done. We’ve left this state better than we found it,” said Wise in his final remarks.

During his last year as chairman, Wise presided over heated debates surrounding Georgia’s controversial nuclear plant Vogtle, which he was openly supportive of.

Georgia Power currently spends $50 million per month on the project. In March 2017, Vogtle’s lead contractor, Westinghouse Electric, filed for bankruptcy. The project was already three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers argues the project presents “long-term benefits to customers.” Critics have fought against Vogtle's expansion for years, citing cost and safety concerns. Cost and schedule estimates presented by Georgia Power may determine the project's fate. Plant Vogtle is one of Georgia's two nuclear power plants.

In his resignation letter to Governor Nathan Deal, Wise had indicated he would step down after the Vogtle vote.

The commission last December handed Georgia Power the go-ahead to keep construction going at the nuclear plant, despite the commission staff’s testimony that the project was uneconomic.

The regulators unanimously approved Georgia Power’s new cost and schedule estimates, which have been changed through the years.

“I just couldn’t tell you that the 2021-2022 schedule will be correct. We have been thumped enough in the last decade on schedule and on the budget to really take a cautious approach,” Wise told WABE’s Denis O’Hayer in a radio interview Tuesday.

He however defended his vote, saying the project would eventually provide a diversity of energy sources in the state.

Under state law, Gov. Deal will appoint a successor to Wise, ahead of elections in November.

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