Nuclear Update: State Regulators Buckle to Pressure, Ratepayers Perilously Exposed

July 22, 2011

Earlier this week, staff members at the Public Service Commission caved in from pressure by Georgia Power and withdrew its latest “risk sharing mechanism” (RSM) proposal for construction costs of the two new reactors at Plant Vogtle. The Staff RSM would have provided at least a minimal level of protection for Georgia Power ratepayers against massive cost-overruns. Without an RSM, ratepayers will be responsible for paying millions more in early profit in the likely event of construction delays and ballooning costs.

In a brief submitted to the PSC, Georgia Watch Consumer Energy Director Clare McGuire says ratepayers are now unfairly exposed to cost overruns, while Georgia Power shareholders carry little to no risk.

“For Georgia Power to take the position that no RSM whatsoever is necessary when – pursuant to Georgia law – ratepayers are already on the hook for unlimited cost overruns, shows a staggering disregard for ratepayers’ financial well-being, especially when such a stance is taken in the same calendar year in which ratepayers have already been saddled with a 10 percent monthly base rate increase and the imposition of the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery charge, the combined impact of which is approximately $15 per month for an average use customer.”

To read the entire brief regarding the need for an RSM, click here. For more information about the RSM negotiations between state regulators and Georgia Power, click here and here.

The five-member PSC will vote whether to adopt a risk sharing mechanism on August 2nd.