Georgia Power seeks $141m Vogtle construction cost recovery in 1H 2016

Southern (NYSE:SO) utility Georgia Power filed its 15th Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) Report with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on Aug. 31.

The company files a VCM report every six months to recap the latest progress in the construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4. The latest report highlights multiple construction milestones in the first half of 2016 and requests approval of $141m invested by Georgia Power during that time.

The capital and construction cost for Georgia Power’s share of the new units remains $5.44bn with projected in-service dates of June 2019 (Unit 3) and June 2020 (Unit 4). Total cost of the project has not changed since the previous semi-annual report, Georgia Power said.

Georgia Power’s co-owners in the nuclear units include Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), and the City of Dalton, Georgia.

Currently, the Vogtle expansion is the largest job-producing construction project underway in Georgia, employing more than 6,000 people during peak construction and creating 800 permanent jobs when the plant begins operating, said a company spokesperson.

Georgia Power says the projected overall peak rate impact of the Vogtle nuclear expansion continues to be 6%-to-8% – nearly half of the original peak rate forecast – due to lower financing rates, other benefits the company has proactively pursued and the fuel savings of nuclear. 

Most of the rate impact is already included in rates, with approximately 2.5% remaining to be added over the next three years. Once the new units come on line, they are expected to put downward pressure on rates and deliver long-term savings for Georgia customers, the utility said in a news release.

Georgia Power and affiliate Southern Nuclear say in the report that their engineering, procurement and construction contract with the chief vendor helps protect ratepayers from cost overruns and delays that are the fault of the contractor.

The Georgia PSC has unanimously approved all costs submitted through the VCM process to date.

Progress outlined in the latest report includes:

•Performed 6.9 million work hours safely from January to June 2016 with all construction activities meeting stringent Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements.

•Placed thousands of tons of modules, including the CA02 and CA03 structural modules for Unit 3 – the two modules complete the placement of the “Big Six” modules for the unit.

•Installed or placed more than 1,480 tons of rebar, more than 2,451 tons of structural steel and more than 10,845 cubic yards of concrete in the nuclear islands, turbine islands and annex building alone. 

•Completed all Vogtle Unit 1 230-kV switchyard modifications necessary to connect the new units to the transmission grid without interrupting power delivery from the operational units.

•Transitioned Westinghouse and its affiliates as the primary contractor, which has enhanced communication, Georgia Power said.

The semi-annual construction report is filed in connection with Georgia PSC Docket No. 29849.

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.