Public Service Commission Stiffs Georgia Power Customers, Greenlights Plant Vogtle Cost Increases
Atlanta, GA–Despite evidence that Plant Vogtle is uneconomic at its current price tag, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) today rubberstamped continued construction.
Commission Staff had recommended the PSC reject any price above $9 billion – beyond which customers will not benefit. Instead, Commissioners approved Georgia Power’s full revised cost estimate, approximately $1.5 billion more than Staff’s break-even point.
Worse, the PSC in a move prodded by Georgia Power said these additional costs are “reasonable.” That means customers will most likely shoulder the entire burden of risk for this over-budget, off-schedule mega project. Already, Plant Vogtle is five years behind schedule and double the original price tag.
“Most people have to pay for their mistakes, but Georgia Power is still profiting from theirs,” said Kurt Ebersbach, Senior Attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “There’s something wrong with a system that rewards this kind of failure.”
The PSC’s vote protects Georgia Power’s shareholders instead of customers. Delays alone will add billions more to the Company’s profit. Putting a dent in shareholders’ returns doesn’t lower the final construction bill that will be handed to customers. Additionally, residential customers will pay for Vogtle for 10 years before the nuclear units ever produce energy – and will continue to pay higher bills for decades.
“Even though customers had no control over Georgia Power’s mistakes, they’re going to be the ones footing the bill,” said Nathaniel Smith, Chief Equity Officer at Partnership for Southern Equity. “These impacts will be especially difficult on the most vulnerable Georgians who are already struggling to put food on the table.”
“This holiday season the Georgia Public Service Commission gave Georgia Power a gift we can’t afford,” said the Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light. “We’re disappointed the Commissioners didn’t consider other more economic alternatives, including solar and energy efficiency projects that provide clean power for less.”
About Southern Environmental Law Center:
The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org
About Partnership for Southern Equity:
Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) pushes for policies and actions that promote equity and shared prosperity in metropolitan Atlanta. Through forums, research, and organizing efforts, PSE brings together the regional community to lift up and encourage just, sustainable, and civic practices for balanced growth and opportunity. www.partnershipforsouthernequity.org
About Georgia Interfaith Power & Light:
Georgia Interfaith Power & Light is a state-wide interfaith ministry that in response to climate change and environmental injustice engages communities of faith in stewardship of Creation through worship, education, and the sustainable generation and efficient use of energy. GIPL’s goal is to help people of faith recognize and fulfill their responsibility for the stewardship of creation. www.gipl.org