The new Vogtle reactors should have been operating by now but are delayed until 2022, if not later. And the costs, due to a combination of factors including mismanagement, years of delays, and the bankruptcy of designer and builder Westinghouse Electric, have now doubled to at least $25 billion. And there is no guarantee that is the final price tag or that they will ever operate. To add insult to injury, Georgia Power is making a profit off the construction cost overages.
And to make matters even worse, there is not even a viable long-term plan in place for disposing of spent fuel from the existing reactors, let alone future waste.
Why continue rewarding failure?
Georgia Power has now put the Georgia Public Service Commission, with five elected commissioners, in a corner – demanding they grant everything the company wants: higher costs, guaranteed profits and no risks to their shareholders or partners. If the commissioners don’t agree, the company says they’ll cancel the project. Georgia Power wants assurance that customers will pay for multibillion-dollar mistakes.
After years of granting Georgia Power many billions in pre-approved costs at the expense of customers as the project was going off-track, the commissioners now need to stand firm: stop bailing out irresponsibility. It’s Georgia Power’s and their partners’ decision on whether to continue with Vogtle or not – the PSC just needs to make sure it’s not done at the expense of Georgia ratepayers.
And the Georgia General Assembly needs to own up to their costly mistake of encouraging corporate welfare and repeal SB31 to prevent any future financial meltdowns.
The bungled Vogtle expansion transcends political ideology. If the General Assembly and the Georgia Public Service Commissioners don’t stand up to these greedy corporate interests, Georgians need to hold them accountable in next year’s elections.
Debbie Dooley is a Republican activist and a national founder of the tea party movement. She serves on the Tea Party Patriots board of directors and is Chairman of Atlanta Tea Party. She is president of Green Tea Coalition and Conservatives for Energy Freedom.David Staples is an IT instructor specializing in teaching security and project management. He ran as a Libertarian for the Georgia PSC in 2012 and is a co-founder of the nonpartisan Green Tea Coalition.