Lower Vogtle costs result in $25 credit for Georgia Power customers

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Georgia Power currently spends $50 million per month on the project. In March 2017, Vogtle’s lead contractor, Westinghouse Electric, filed for bankruptcy. The project was already three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers argues the project presents “long-term benefits to customers.” Critics have fought against Vogtle's expansion for years, citing cost and safety concerns. Cost and schedule estimates presented by Georgia Power may determine the project's fate. Plant Vogtle is one of Georgia's two nuclear power plants.

Georgia Power customers will see a $25 credit applied to their bills in July, the company announced in a press release Monday, the second of three credits Georgia Power is giving customers after the company’s costs associated with the expansion of Plant Vogtle have gone down.

The credits, totalling $188 million across the state, are attributed to the $1.47 billion payment Georgia Power received from Toshiba in December of last year. Toshiba made the payment to honor a previous commitment to the Vogtle expansion project by its subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Company, which went bankrupt in 2017.

The infusion of capital means Georgia Power will be contributing less of its own money to the construction of two new units at the Waynesboro nuclear power plant. Also contributing to the decreased cost, Georgia Power said, are changes in federal tax law which will cut the corporate tax rate.

Georgia Power uses money from rates paid by customers to fund the project, and, as previously reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, customers pay about $100 a year towards Vogtle.

When the Georgia Public Service Commission ordered in December 2017 for the construction of units 3 and 4 to continue, it also approved the return of money to Georgia Power customers.

In total, Georgia Power said it expects to charge consumers $139 million less for the project in 2018 than previously expected. It was reported in September 2017 Georgia Power's cost to compelete the expansion would be $4.5 billion.

The Vogtle expansion has repeatedly fallen behind schedule and gone over budget. Georgia Power projects both units will be operational by 2022, but that is two years beyond the previous deadline of 2020. Construction on the units began in 2011