Georgia Power Says Nuclear Project Will Likely Miss November Deadline

Georgia Power and Southern Company say a delay in expanding the nuclear power plants at the Vogtle plant near Augusta is likely.

The delay would mean less profits from the project for shareholders and more expenses for the companies involved, including expenses that can be passed on to the interest payers.

In a notice filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, the Atlanta-based Southern Company and its subsidiary Georgia Power said that one of the key pre-commissioning tests of the device would be postponed until April and that the companies were still on a November, to get the reactor up and running, they say they’ll likely miss it by at least a month – and maybe more.

Construction of the Vogtle plant has already been delayed and costs have risen to at least $ 25 billion. Both nuclear power plants under construction at the Augusta plant should be operational in mid-2017.

In an agreement with state regulators in 2018, when the company took over construction management for the project, it agreed to new deadlines: November this year for one reactor and November next year for the other.

Independent observers working for the Georgia Public Service Commission [PSC] warned that this year’s deadline would be challenging.

“In previous statements, PSC staff said the November 2021 deadline was difficult to meet,” PSC chairman Chuck Eaton said in a written statement. “The delay will come with penalties for Georgia Power. We hope the delays are short. “

Georgia Power estimates the belated nuclear unit will cost an additional $ 25 million to build each month. A PSC spokesman said the agency’s staff are still working on how much other costs like funding will add up.

Georgia Power customers currently pay the cost of financing and shareholder return on equity on their monthly bills. As soon as the reactors are ready, the PSC evaluates the capital costs, which can also be passed on to the tariff payers.

“We don’t get any power advantage from these two units. But we allowed the company to make a profit while the project experienced incredible delays and years of delays, ”said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch consumer group.

Georgia Power has the largest interest in the project and is managing the construction, but other Georgia utility companies – Oglethorpe Power, the Georgia Municipal Electricity Authority, and the City of Dalton – are also involved.

In an email, Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said work on the unit, due to be completed in November, is 98% complete.

“The new Vogtle entities are an integral part of Georgia Power’s commitment to delivering safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy to customers and play an important role in supporting Southern Company’s goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050 “wrote Kraft.

The Vogtle plant is the only nuclear power plant project in the country.

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