A commissioner on the Georgia Public Service Commission wants to halt surcharges on customers’ bills that help pay for Georgia Power’s project to build two new reactors at Plant Vogtle. Photo: Georgia Power

State regulator wants customers to quit paying ahead for Vogtle project

One of the commissioners at Georgia’s utility regulator plans to ask Georgia Power to quit collecting a surcharge on customers’ bills that finances the company’s Plant Vogtle nuclear project, according to a published report.

But it may be difficult to erase the surcharge, which adds about $100 a year to the typical residential customer’s bill, because it was authorized by state lawmakers rather than the state’s Public Service Commission.

Westinghouse, the main contractor on Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Ga. and Scana Corps’ Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina, recently sought bankruptcy court protection.

Tuesday’s Public Service Commission agenda includes an item for a proposed motion by Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald regarding Georgia Power’s so-called “Nuclear Construction Financing Cost Recovery Tariff.”

“The circumstances of approving something like that have changed. And so I suggest we change the circumstances, and stop collecting,” said McDonald, WABE radio reported last week.

The project to build two new reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta is more than $3 billion over budget and more than three years behind schedule. Georgia Power is now trying to figure out what to do with the project after its key contractor, Westinghouse Electric, recently filed bankruptcy due to losses on the project.

A lawyer for Georgia Power told commissioners last week that it wouldn’t comply with McDonald’s motion if it passed because the issue would have to be decided by the state legislature, according to WABE.

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