GA Power customers' rates could increase to finish Plant Vogtle - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

GA Power customers' rates could increase to finish Plant Vogtle nuclear reactors

BURKE COUNTY, GA (WTOC) -

Years behind schedule and billions of dollars over-budget - now, there are questions whether two new nuclear reactors being constructed at Plant Vogtle
will be completed at all. 

That comes after Westinghouse, the company building those reactors, declared bankruptcy following years of massive losses. Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols says he still believes that nuclear, which provides about 25 percent of Georgia’s power, is among the cheapest forms of energy. However, the delays getting reactors 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle built are costing Georgia Power customers a lot - an estimated $2 million a day.

Echols says the future of the project may hinge on whether Toshiba - the parent company of Westinghouse - hangs on. 

“If they go bankrupt, the parent company, and we lose that money, then I don’t think it will be a good deal anymore. I think it is that scenario that I’m going to have trouble supporting, but as long as we get their money to offset their overruns, I think we can do it," he said. 

The construction of the two new reactors - the first to be built in the U.S. in decades - is about 60 percent completed right now. 

“So, I think the net cost is what I’m really going to be looking at. I’m not really going on how much is the delay or how much are they over, I want to know the net increase to our rate payers. What’s that net? And if it is about the same, I think we need to finish. I certainly don’t want the thing sitting up there as a monument to failure,” says Echols.

Echols says that while Georgia Power customers are only obligated for the amount agreed upon back in December, there’s also a good chance that Georgia Power could come back and ask for more. If the public service commissioners agree, those costs could once again be passed on to your bill. 

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