Dear <<First Name>>,

I am going to skip the transparency and ethics email to update you on Georgia’s Plant Vogtle, because there is urgent news. There’s been another delay, and the next public hearing is this Tuesday Jan. 17th at 9:30 at the PSC commission hearing room, 244 Washington Street, Atlanta.

Plant Vogtle is the only nuclear power plant under construction in the U.S., and the first of two nuclear reactors, Unit 3, is nearing completion. Georgia Power had estimated Unit 3 will be operational by end of March but it just got pushed to April due to a “vibrating pipe”. This delay will cost ratepayers - us - about $30 million dollars.

All images are hyperlinked to the story behind them.

This latest delay is especially concerning because the vibrating pipe needing repair comes so close to when the unit is going in-service. If something containing the world’s most deadly product - radioactive fuel - is only 2 months away from starting to move that fuel around to create electricity and then stored as waste, shouldn’t the problems and delays be over? What in the world?!?!

When I first launched my campaign I was told not to mention Plant Vogtle because most people had never heard of it. I found that advice wrong: if I didn’t mention it people asked, and most people had both heard of it and were very concerned about its impact on their electric bills, as well they should be. It’s going to be a whopper on our bills while heaping profits on shareholders.

Georgia Power has never been accurate with this project on anything - not timing, not cost. What’s that saying, “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me 16 times…” Oh wait. That’s not the saying.

In fact, Georgia Power is so abysmal at both managing the project and estimating the timeline that Don Grace, the independent project monitor hired by the Georgia Public Interest Advocacy staff, routinely includes in his report not to take Southern Nuclear’s (SNC) estimates seriously.

From page 22 of VCM-24 linked below this quote:

Plant Vogtle is so expensive it is the most expensive power plant ever built on earth, surpassing $34 billion. If you can find anything more expensive let me know.

In fact it may be the most expensive project ever built on earth. The only items I could find more expensive were the International Space Station at $60 billion and the Federal Interstate Highway System at $114 billion. Note that those were federal projects, unlike Plant Vogtle which is paid for only by Georgians.

Why is the not-rich state of Georgia spending federal levels of money on one power plant? It’s INSANE.

I’ll tell you why: it’s because the Georgia Public Service Commission is in regulatory capture which I wrote about last time. They give Georgia Power what they want. And building things is what they want. That’s how utilities make money, by building things.

Georgia Power has made gonzo profits by building Plant Vogtle, even though the electricity was not needed in 2009 when it was approved and is not needed now.

Over-forecasting is rewarded with shareholder profit. Once a utility justifies an investment in a new power plant the utility can recover costs and earn a preapproved return on that investment, even if the plant is rarely needed or used. That’s exactly what happened with Plant Vogtle. Their wildly exaggerated future energy sales numbers don’t even touch their actual sales numbers (blue line doesn’t touch the orange line) - they were that far off.

The Georgia Public Service Commission doesn’t hold Georgia Power accountable for their wildly inaccurate forecasts. Imagine if a company in a competitive marketplace was wrong so often? But, nope, the Ga PSC just keeps right on approving whatever Ga Power wants, ignoring their own staff (see last image) as well as outside utility experts hired to advise them. And it pays off handsomely for Georgia Power and harms ratepayers - again, us.

Does this make you mad? It does me too. And that’s why I’m running to unseat one of the commissioners and start what I hope is a trend to turn every one of them out of office.

Anyway, every six months Georgia Power must file a progress report to the commission. Outside parties known as intervenors also file reports in hopes of influencing and informing the commission (hope never dies).

Given that taxpayers pay for the work of the Georgia Public Service Commission you may want to get involved. Hearings are open to the public. If you would like to come downtown and speak in person the next hearing will be held this Tuesday January 17th. Public comment period is from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM. You have 3 minutes.

If you would like to watch on Zoom click here:

If you would like to read Georgia Power’s filing click on the image below. You’ll be paying. You may as well know what’s going on.

Want to have your mind blown? Read Mr. Don Grace’s report, the independent monitor hired to review this project, or just skim it. That’s where it gets real. He does not hold back.

There is so much more to say about what Georgia Power knew about their future energy needs, and the dastardly behavior of a company in full Robber Baron mode; and their Commissioner enablers like Commissioner Echols. That’s coming soon.

The $5/month bill increase that Georgia Power was “estimating” has now surpassed $20/month.

I’ll leave you with this. The Georgia PSC routinely ignores their own staff’s analysis in favor of Georgia Power. They’ve never done otherwise.

It’s quite disgusting. Read that Energy & Policy Institute article. It’s unbelievable.

Mind blown. We gotta get rid of these guys, especially Echols.