Twenty members of the Georgia Legislative Assembly have called on the co-owners of the Vogtle nuclear expansion to cap the costs of the project, prior to deciding on the fate of the project early next week.
The lawmakers raised concern over the “ever-escalating cost of Plant Vogtle and the unfair impact of those costs” on their constituents, who are members of Electric Membership Cooperatives and city utilities.
In letters addressed to the boards of directors for Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corp. and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), the lawmakers said allowing the project to continue without a set cap would leave ratepayers unprotected from current and future overruns.
The project costs have since inception soared to $27 billion.
The lawmaker's appeal follows last month's announcement of a $2.3 billion increase in project costs by Georgia Power. The increase came weeks after the Public Service Commission approved the project's costs, with Georgia Power assuring the commission there would be no more overruns.
Southern company, Georgia Power’s parent company, said it would absorb the utility’s share of the increased costs, while the rest of the co-owners would shoulder their portion of the increase.
“This puts a disproportionate cost burden on EMC and city utility customers,” the letter said. “Our local utilities don’t have the luxury of shareholders to absorb these additional costs and will have to increase rates even higher. This approach is unfair and anti-competitive.”
The co-owners decide on the fate of Vogtle expansion on Sept. 24.
Georgia Power hopes the co-owners will vote to keep the project going.
“A year ago, Georgia Power and all of the Vogtle co-owners entered a new contract to move forward with the project and everyone acknowledged and accepted all possible risks,” said a Georgia Power spokesperson via email.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com