In 2009, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 31, the Georgia Nuclear Financing Act, authorizing Georgia Power to collect financing costs, including its profits and income taxes on profits, for the construction of Plant Vogtle from ratepayers during construction. The Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) tariff was intended to pre-collect financing costs for roughly six years. However, 11 years later, ratepayers are still paying these costs, totaling more than $3.5 billion collected, 80% of which is the company’s profit and associated income taxes.
Construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4 is now six years behind and the cost has nearly doubled to $30 billion. Despite this poor performance, Georgia Power will reap $12.6 billion in profit from the mismanaged project, including an additional $5 billion tied directly to the delays and cost overruns. Georgia Power now seeks to move Vogtle capital costs into its rate base and begin earning its full rate of return on these bloated costs for the next 60 years. In turn, customers face steep rate increases. Georgia Power estimates a 10% peak rate impact related to Vogtle units 3 and 4, with only 3.2% currently in rates through the NCCR.
Securitization is a low-cost capital option for investor-owned utilities like Georgia Power to replace higher-cost capital financing. It uses bond financing to lower costs for utility customers, saving customers hundreds of millions of dollars in the long run. We support the implementation of utility securitization to help Georgians claw back some of the Vogtle overpayments collected to date while curtailing the excess profit customers must pay to Georgia Power on Vogtle’s cost overruns going forward.
Current Georgia Legislation:
- Senate Bill 421, sponsored by Georgia Watch Lifetime Consumer Champion, Senator Chuck Huftstetler (R-52) would enact the “Georgia Utility Rate Reduction Act (GURRA)” to promote utility securitization, lowering costs for customers of investor-owned utilities. This bill was introduced on February 1, 2022 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities. On March 7, the committee favorably reported the bill with a vote of 7-6. Chairman Cowsert (R-46), Senator Butler (D-55), Senator Anderson (D-43), Senator Mullis (R-53), Senator Rhett (D-33), Senator Tippins (R-37), and Senator Harbison (D-15) all voted in favor of the bill’s passage out of committee. The bill was second read on March 9.