The governor may applaud the move, and some members of the state Public Service Commission may be in favor, but a top ratings firm has issued a sour view of Georgia Power’s recommendation that it be allowed to continue construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.
Read the entire note from Moody’s Investor Service here. Some excerpts:
“If approved by state regulators, continuation of the project will increase the utility’s business and operating risk profile because total costs are open ended and because Georgia Power’s parent company will be assuming construction risk on its balance sheet….”
Moody’s wonders whether the PSC will allow Georgia Power to count on continued advance payments from customers:
“While recovery of such costs from customers would be credit positive, the conditions to transfer all of these costs to customers may not be approved.
“By pursuing both new nuclear units, Georgia Power’s business risk will increase materially, net of any mitigation associated with the above referenced conditions. A key risk going forward is a lack of a fixed price contract….”
The ratings agency also questions whether the investment alliance behind the project can hold together:
“We incorporate a view that the Vogtle project is likely to exceed the roughly $19 billion cost estimate (plus financing costs), and that additional delays beyond the November 2021/2022 target operational dates are still a possibility.
“Finally, we note that the Vogtle co-owners, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) and the City of Dalton are also feeling the financial and consumer pressures of pursuing a new generating project that will cost in excess of $12,000 per kw-capacity (offset by the funds received under the Toshiba guarantee), which is materially higher than alternative sources of generation. Maintaining a unified ownership consortium is critical to completing the project.”
The AJC’s Russell Grantham has more details here. And if you like, scroll through the entire Moody's report here:
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