There's still time to contact your state legislators about stopping Georgia Power profitting from cost overruns on the new nukes at Plant Vogtle. Georgia Sierra Club spells out why.
You may remember a controversial bill the Georgia Legislature approved in 2009, SB 31, the Nuclear Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) bill, which forces Georgia Power ratepayers to pay the financing costs during construction, rather than over the life of the plant. Large users of electricity are exempt from the charge, but residential and mom and pop businesses have been paying for two years.
Even after that sweetheart deal, the Public Service Commissioners scrapped their staff proposal to stop the company from profiting on cost overruns for the project after they top $300 million.
The most recent reports from the independent monitor established by the PSC says
that the project is months behind and as of December, $88 million over budget. Georgia Power gets to earn 11.15% return on all expenses approved by the PSC, so the more they have to spend, the more they get to make and the more ratepayers get to pay!
Putting the profit issue aside for the moment, if the Georgia PSC ever decided to disapprove cost overruns, Georgia Power could take a page from the Mississippi Power playbook and just get the Legislature to let them issue bonds to pay for the work.
HB 267 by freshman Rep. Jeff Chapman excludes the collection of any profits on cost overruns beyond the $6.4 billion the Public Service Commission has approved. The bill is co-sponsored by Avondale Estates Democrat Karla Drenner, who is a member of the Utilities Committee, to which the bill was assigned. Passage of this bill would provide an incentive for Georgia Power to keep expenses down at Vogtle, something that SB 31 failed to do.
It isn't fair for Georgia Power to profit to the tune of over 11% on delays, overruns and mismanagement, so ask your State Representative to support HB 267.