Pro­posed deal would de­lay re­port on GA nu­clear plant

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL NEWS -

AT­LANTA — Ge­or­gia util­ity reg­u­la­tors are be­ing asked to de­lay a Ge­or­gia Power re­port show­ing whether the Plant Vog­tle nu­clear ex­pan­sion has fallen fur­ther be­hind sched­ule.

Ad­di­tional con­struc­tion de­lays would in­crease the project’s costs — and that could lead to higher power bills for many Ge­or­gians, The At­lanta Jour­nalCon­sti­tu­tion re­ported.

Some con­sumer and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups are ob­ject­ing to any de­lay in up­dates.

“The com­pany and the project do not de­serve this break in scru­tiny at this crit­i­cal time,” Sara Bar­czak, a direc­tor for the South­ern Al­liance for Clean En­ergy, wrote in an emailed state­ment to the Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion.

“The ratepay­ers do not de­serve this ex­tended pe­riod of a lack of pro­tec­tion and trans­parency as their ex­po­sure po­ten­tially in­creases by more than a bil­lion dol­lars,” Bar­czak said.

The de­lay also means the com­pany won’t make its lat­est dis­clo­sure while the state leg­is­la­ture is in ses­sion, said Liz Coyle, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Ge­or­gia Watch.

“There is a lack of trans­parency in what is hap­pen­ing with sched­ule and bud­get at a time when the leg­is­la­ture could take some ac­tion,” Coyle said.

Ge­or­gia Power de­nied the move is an in­ten­tional ef­fort to avoid the leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

Ge­or­gia Power spokesman Jeff Wil­son wrote in an email that “based upon the com­pany’s cur­rent anal­y­sis, the Vog­tle project re­mains on track for com­ple­tion within the PSCap­proved sched­ule of Novem­ber 2021 (Unit 3) and Novem­ber 2022 (Unit 4).”

Sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made on the nu­clear project, with about 700 pipe-fit­ters, elec­tri­cians and other craft work­ers added since the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber, Wil­son wrote.

Ge­or­gia Power is reg­u­lated by the state Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion. It’s re­quired to give an up­date on Vog­tle’s progress ev­ery six months.

The next re­port is due in late Fe­bru­ary, but the com­mis­sion’s staffers are propos­ing an agree­ment with Ge­or­gia Power to de­lay the re­port. The com­mis­sion’s staff cites a heavy caseload as one rea­son for the pro­posed de­lay.

The com­mis­sion could vote on the is­sue later this month.

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