Southern Company Got Warning from State Monitor on Ga. Nuclear Plant Costs

Published Date : Dec 08, 2014

State monitors has warned Southern Co. that building a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant in Georgia without having a comprehensive construction schedule could cause financial penalties.

A report was filed by an analyst and an engineer working for state regulators. They supervise the elevation of two new reactors situated at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia. The warning was mentioned in that report.

The Public Service Commission has notified for at least two years that Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., is depending on an obsolete project schedule, which contains almost no detail after December 2015, even though the construction will persist for some more years.

William Jacobs Jr., a nuclear engineer, and Steven Roetger, a financial analyst, stated that building a first-of-its-kind complex without a definite schedule was unreasonable.

The elected utility regulators of the state have decided to delay any final verdict on construction costs till the construction of the first reactor is completed, which is expected to finish in late 2017. However, in the latest filing, it is shown that the staffers of the commission are laying the legal groundwork that could be used in future to prevent consumers from paying some of the costs of Georgia Power.

Brian Green, the Georgia Power spokesman, said that utility regulators have not pointed to any construction costs till now. Georgia Power owns a 46% share in the new plant. It expects that it will pay out US$6.7 billion for its share of construction, around US$591 million over the original state accepted budget. However, if the two reactors cannot be completed by the end of 2017 and 2018 as scheduled, costs will increase.