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Georgia Regulators Won’t Reconsider Decision On Vogtle Nuclear Project

Georgia Power is the biggest owner of Plant Vogtle, and its customers pay for financing costs and profits on their monthly bills.
Georgia Power is the biggest owner of Plant Vogtle, and its customers pay for financing costs and profits on their monthly bills.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press
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Georgia regulators won’t reconsider their decision allowing construction at a troubled nuclear power project to continue.

The Public Service Commission voted in December to keep the nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle going despite billions of dollars in cost overruns and a five-year delay.

The consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch had asked the PSC to revisit that December decision.

“We still have not seen any analysis of what the actual cost will be to ratepayers and how much more the company’s shareholders will profit as a result of that decision,” said Liz Coyle, director of Georgia Watch.

Georgia Power is the biggest owner of Plant Vogtle, and its customers pay for financing costs and profits on their monthly bills.

Coyle said the PSC didn’t gather all the evidence before voting to allow the project to go forward.

“Some of what they ordered has a real impact on ratepayers, on the customers of Georgia Power,” she said.

For example, allowing Georgia Power to begin collecting money from its customers to pay for the capital costs of the nuclear units as they come online, rather than waiting for the project to be completed.

At a hearing Thursday morning, Georgia Power’s attorney Kevin Greene told the PSC the decision they’d made was legally sound.

“This motion for reconsideration merely asks you to change your decision because Georgia Watch disagrees with it,” said Greene.

The Commission unanimously voted not to reconsider.

Earlier this week, Georgia Power said the nuclear fee on its customers’ bills would be lower starting in April because of the federal tax overhaul. Georgia Power customers will also receive credits on three electric bills this year coming from payments from Toshiba. That company owed money to the owners of Plant Vogtle after its subsidiary Westinghouse, which was the lead contractor on the nuclear project, went bankrupt.

There’s a bill proposed in the state legislature that would limit how much money Georgia Power can collect.