Georgia PSC to kick off hearings on updated Vogtle nuclear spending

The Georgia Public Service Commission will begin hearings Nov. 3 in Atlanta on the 15th monitoring report by Southern (NYSE:SO) utility Georgia Power on construction progress and spending on Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle nuclear plant.

Georgia Power is asking the PSC to verify and approve $141m in expenditures on the Vogtle Construction Project for the six-month period ending June 30 of this year.

The PSC will hear from any public witnesses, take up preliminary matters and then conduct a hearing on the direct case of the company in the 15th ) Vogtle Plant Construction Monitoring (VCM) Report in Docket 29849.

Georgia Power will present its direct testimony on Nov. 3; staff and intervening entities file their direct testimony on Nov. 17. The parties will file briefs or proposed orders by Feb. 13, 2017. The PSC decision is expected Feb. 21.

Under Georgia law, within 180 days of the utility’s filing of the 15th VCM progress report, the PSC shall verify and approve or disapprove expenditures made pursuant to the certificate. According to the statute, if the PSC fails to so act within 180 days after such filing, the expenditures shall be deemed approved by operation of law. The statutory deadline in this Docket is Feb. 27, 2017.

The current Georgia Power cost forecast, if approved by the PSC, would be adjusted to $5.68bn including a $240m contingency.

The two 1,100-MW Westinghouse Electric AP 1000 reactors are currently under construction at the Vogtle complex in Waynesboro, Georgia. Both new units are currently scheduled to be in commercial operation by the end of 2020.

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.

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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