He added, “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are imbued with enthusiasm.”
The second of the new reactors is currently scheduled to be in operation in November of 2022.
Delays on either reactor can add costs to the project, which is already billions of dollars over budget. Customers of many electric utilities in the state are at risk of eventually having to pay for the higher construction costs in their monthly bills.
Elected members of the Georgia Public Service Commission will decide how much more will be added to Georgia Power bills. Already, customers’ bills have included an extra fee for the project’s financing costs and a portion of company profits.
The project has been battered by a string of challenges over the years, including late design changes. Then the project’s main contractor filed for bankruptcy protection. Southern made improvements but still faced productivity issues, according to independent monitors, who continually warned of additional delays despite company assurances. Then the pandemic struck, affecting the project’s giant workforce.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Southern reported revenues for the first quarter of $5.91 billion, up from $5.02 billion in the period a year earlier. Net income increased to $1.14 billion from $868 million.
“The economies in our service territories are starting to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fanning said in a released statement. “Customer demand is improving faster than we anticipated.”
But factoring out the impact of weather, total electricity sold is still down a bit from a year ago.