Georgia PSC approves 14th Vogtle construction report from Georgia Power

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has unanimously approved Georgia Power’s request to approve and verify $160m in expenditures on the Plant Vogtle Nuclear Power Construction Project for the period July 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015.

The Georgia PSC announced the ruling for the Southern (NYSE:SO) utility’s project in an Aug. 16 news release.

This amount remains within the commission-certified construction cost. The decision is not a ruling on whether the expenditures are reasonable and prudent but only acknowledges that Georgia Power spent the funds on the project.

The decision closes out the Fourteenth Semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring Report in Docket 29849.

“The Plant Vogtle project continues to make progress. While there have been setbacks, in the long run Plant Vogtle will provide economical and carbon free electricity for generations of Georgians,” said Commission Chairman Chuck Eaton.

Georgia Power filed its 14th Vogtle Construction Monitoring Report on Feb. 26. The PSC held two hearings in this docket on June 7, on the company’s direct testimony and on June 30, on PSC staff and interested parties testimony.

When completed, Vogtle Units 3 and 4, under construction near Waynesboro, Georgia, will produce 2,200 MW. That’s enough electricity, to power about 500,000 homes. Plant Vogtle Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since 1987 and 1989 respectively.

The PSC certified Georgia Power’s share of the construction cost of Plant Vogtle Units Three and Four on March 17, 2009 at $6.114bn. Georgia Power owns 45.7% of Plant Vogtle with its partners, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and the City of Dalton Utilities.

The Georgia PSC is a five-member constitutional agency that oversees telecommunications, electric and natural gas service in the state.

In a brief filed Aug. 5, the PSC’s Public Interest Advocacy Staff urged the PSC verify that such costs being sought by the utility have actually been spent on the project. The Public Interest Advocacy Staff also said that Georgia Power should continue to perform “delay scenarios” of 24, 36 and 48 months.

The advocacy staff noted that Units 3 and 4 have already experienced scheduled delays and cost increases. Southern has also argued that increased project costs will be mitigated by lower-than-expected financing costs.

The current expected completion timeline is June 2019 for Unit 3 and June 2020 for Unit 4.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.