Consumer groups call on commissioners to require more transparency from Georgia Power during Vogtle hearings. MATT KEMPNER / AJC
The costs for Vogtle have changed several times since the project got certified in 2009. That’s cause for worry, said Ebersbach. He isn’t convinced this is the last time the project’s cost will change since no cap has been set.
“It apparently can keep going up like this,” said Ebersbach.
Georgia Power attributed the cost increases to the need for "craft labor incentives to both attract and retain adequate staffing levels and increased field supervision and engineering oversight."
Reports emerged earlier in the year about craft labor shortages hitting the plant, as potential workers opted for projects offering better pay and incentives.
“The competition for craft labor is difficult,” said Commission chairman Lauren McDonald last week.
However, he said, the company decided to shoulder some of the extra costs, which is worth commending.
“They knew they could not come back to this commission for $1.1 billion and get recovery moving forward,” McDonald said during a recent PSC energy committee meeting.
Despite the company’s promise to absorb the extra costs, interest groups are concerned that the increased Vogtle costs will eventually fall on the ratepayer.
Citing the failure of big institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual and the V. C. Summer nuclear project, Mark Woodall, chair of the Sierra Club, said Vogtle was not too big to fail.
“In any other state, Vogtle 3 and 4 would already have failed,” said Woodall.
As debate continues around the viability of the project, commissioners decide Tuesday whether to approve $448 million the company said was spent on the plant between July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
The Vogtle Construction Monitoring hearings are:
- stipulated by the Georgia Public Service Commission.
- held at the commission every six months.
- provide regulators and interest groups details on progress made on the construction of the two nuclear units — Vogtle 3 and 4.
SOURCE: Public Service Commission