Two of the co-owners of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle have sued Georgia Power over their share of the mounting costs. The project is currently forecast to total $30 billion, double its original price tag.
The lawsuits don’t affect the construction of units three and four at Plant Vogtle, just who pays for it.
Oglethorpe Power Corporation, which supplies power to electric membership corporations around the state, and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, which supplies 49 cities, both want to freeze their payments for the project. In exchange, they’d each own a smaller share of the reactors.
Southern Co. on July 28 increased its cost estimate for Georgia Power’s share of the two-unit expansion of the Vogtle nuclear plant.
The construction of Units 3 and 4 at Vogtle is years behind schedule, and the project’s price tag has ballooned to more than $30 billion, according to energy industry analysts.
State-appointed monitors of the two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle recently criticized Georgia Power, Southern Nuclear and their subcontractors for lax management of the project, claiming a failure to complete paperwork has contributed to delays and skyrocketing costs.
The monitors, retained by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), alleged in testimony that an apparent lapse in maintaining the paper trail needed to verify that construction meets federal safety specifications led to a backlog of incomplete reports that numbered in the thousands until recent weeks.
And while the monitors said Georgia Power should be able to hit those deadlines, they foreshadowed the possibility of more delays if productivity lags or testing uncovers new issues with the units.
No cheap electricity here.
Georgia Power customers are already paying for the units in their monthly power bills. PSC staff have estimated that by the time the reactors are completed, the average Georgia Power residential customer will have already paid $900 to cover Vogtle construction costs.
And the rates that many Georgians pay for their electricity could climb even higher in the years to come, depending on how much additional cost the PSC allows Georgia Power to recoup from customers. In an update earlier this year, Georgia Power estimated that the units’ cost could drive rates up by 10%.