2017-12-06 / Front Page

Analysts recommend scrapping Vogtle 3 & 4

ROY F. CHALKER JR.

According to a report by The Atlanta Journal- Constitution, analysts appointed by the Georgia Public Service Commission to evaluate progress at Plant Vogtle in Burke County say the project should be cancelled as Georgia Power failed to manage it in a “reasonable manner.”

The report said that completion of the project is no longer economical “given the additional costs and schedule delays.”

Georgia Power estimates the cost of completing the project will be $12.2 billion while the analysts said a reasonable cost should be set at $8.3 billion.

The report said that Georgia Power and its shareholders should shoulder the risk rather than “shift the contractor’s failures to customers.”

Georgia Power spokesperson John Kraft said the company shared in the “financial risk of the Vogtle project,” citing “severe consequences for delays in place under an agreement with the Georgia PSC.”

In November, Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers asked commissioners to rule on whether the new estimates by Georgia Power and its partners were reasonable, before the company, which owns 45.7 percent of Vogtle continues spending additional dollars on the project. At that time, Bowers said that completing the project presented the best economic option for customers.

The question of whether to proceed with construction of the two reactors and the fate of the project depends on the PSC’s decision due in February.

In the meantime, Georgia Power announced Tuesday that it has reached a new agreement with Toshiba, the parent company of former primary Vogtle contractor Westinghouse, to receive all remaining scheduled payments from Toshiba in the amount of $3.2 billion by Dec. 15, 2017. Georgia Power’s proportionate share of the payments is approximately $1.47 billion. To date, the Vogtle co-owners (Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities) have received $455 million in total scheduled payments from Toshiba under the parent guarantee for the Vogtle project – a structure which was put in place to protect Georgia electric customers as part of the original contract.

Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins said, “The agreement will only become binding upon satisfaction of certain conditions including, but not limited to, approval of Toshiba’s board of directors and receipt of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approval.”

“We are pleased to have reached this constructive agreement with Toshiba regarding the parent guarantees for the Vogtle project and every dollar will be used to benefit our customers,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “We remain committed to making the right decisions for our state’s energy future and continue to believe that completing both Vogtle units represents the best economic choice for customers and preserves the benefits of carbon-free, base load generation for Georgia electric customers.”

Return to top