State Senator Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, is taking action to protect Georgia consumers from future out of control nuclear construction costs in light of Georgia Power’s nuclear Plant Vogtle. Construction at Vogtle 3 & 4 is now more than five years behind schedule, the cost has nearly doubled to $23.4 billion, and yet Georgia Power will profit an additional $5 billion from the mismanaged project! Due to 2009 legislation allowing Georgia Power to collect project financing costs during construction, customers have already paid more than $2 billion, nearly half of which is the Company’s profit. Georgia Watch supports Senate Bill 355 to amend the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act to sunset this year so that it cannot be applied to any future nuclear projects Georgia Power might propose.
Since 2011 Georgia Power has been collecting monthly surcharges from its customers for the construction of two new nuclear reactors, Vogtle Units 3 & 4. Originally scheduled for completion in March 2016 and 2017, respectively, these Units are already running more than $4 billion over budget and more than five years behind schedule. Georgia Power will collect nearly $3 billion in financing costs from its customers before the new units are even operational. On top of that, customers are also prepaying the Company’s income taxes to the tune of nearly $1.5 billion.
Because almost half the tariff collected is the Company’s profit, Georgia Power actually stands to make money off the delays. Public Service Commission Staff estimates that the Company will collect an additional $5.2 billion in profit from the project delays alone.
Update: SB 355 passed the Senate on February 26 and the House on March 21. It now moves to the Governor’s desk for signature!