“Ga. Regulators Considering Costs Of Vogtle Nuclear Expansion”

By: Molly Samuel

The Georgia Public Service Commission is considering approval of Georgia Power’s expenses on two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle. The utility company pushed back the construction deadline by 18 months in January.

Georgia Power has to get approval from the Public Service Commission on its spending at Vogtle twice a year. At a hearing Monday, the PSC considered construction from July through December 2014. It was the first hearing since Georgia Power announced that the plant is 18 months behind schedule. Now the first new nuclear unit isn’t expected to be completed until 2019.

“We continue to be very concerned,” said Liz Coyle, the executive director of the advocacy group, Georgia Watch. “[We] see no evidence that suggests that we should not worry, that ratepayers are going to be paying for these units for years and years and years, billions of dollars, and may or may not ever receive any benefit from them.”

So far, Georgia Power has spent nearly $3 billion on the project, which is about a quarter complete.

At the hearing, Georgia Power staff emphasized they prioritize safety above schedule. They encouraged regulators to keep in mind that in the 60-year life span of the plant should save ratepayers money.

The PSC will decide on Georgia Power’s end-of-2014 expenses later this summer. Regulators won’t consider if extra spending on the units is appropriate until after the project is complete.