Georgia Power Co. customers will likely pay an additional $ 224 million per year for the first of two nuclear reactors near Augusta
ATLANTA – Georgia Power Co. customers are expected to pay an additional $ 224 million per year for the first of two nuclear reactors near Augusta.
The company says the proposal would increase a typical residential customer’s bills by about 3%, or $ 3.78 per month on a bill of $ 122.73.
The tariff increase would begin after Plant Vogtle Unit 3 begins generating electricity. The reactor is now expected to enter service in June. Customers could be asked to pay significantly more once the fourth reactor starts producing electricity, now scheduled for 2023.
A rate hike of $ 157 million, which costs a typical residential customer $ 2.87 per month, is also expected to begin Jan. 1. It’s part of a $ 1.77 billion three-year plan approved by commissioners in 2019. Customers are also likely to see a separate third plan. higher prices, to allow Georgia Power to cover higher fuel costs.
An agreement on the first of the new nuclear reactors was filed on Wednesday by the company and Civil Service Commission employees tasked with protecting consumer interests. He recommends that the company get most of what it originally asked for. The commissioners, who plan to vote on a tariff increase in November, are not bound by the deal, but such deals are usually very influential.
Georgia Power owns 46% of Plant Vogtle’s two new reactors. The Atlanta-based Southern Co. unit currently projects it will spend $ 9.2 billion, with an additional $ 3.2 billion in financing costs. These numbers could increase as construction delays continue to pile up.
Vogtle’s reactors are currently expected to cost more than $ 27.8 billion in total, not including the $ 3.68 billion that the original contractor Westinghouse paid back to owners after going bankrupt. When approved in 2012, the estimated cost was $ 14 billion, with the first electricity being produced in 2016.
At a hearing Thursday, several witnesses asked to delay or reduce the proposed rate increase.
“Rate increases are never welcome, but the timing of Vogtle 3 couldn’t be worse,” said Jeffry Pollock, a rate consultant who testified on behalf of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers. He proposed to postpone part of the increase until early 2023.
Georgia Power’s 2.6 million customers have already paid more than $ 3.5 billion for the cost of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in a deal supposed to lower borrowing costs. But rates are expected to rise further as nuclear reactors are completed. Civil Service Commission staff previously estimated that the typical customer will have paid $ 854 in financing costs on his own by the time the Vogtle reactors are completed.
The latest deal would see the company raise the $ 224 million a year to pay off $ 2.1 billion in construction costs that commissioners have already approved as cautious under the deal. Georgia Power had wanted to raise $ 235 million a year to pay off $ 2.38 billion in expenses, while staff initially offered to allow Georgia Power to raise $ 125 million.
“Staff now believe the stipulation is in the best interests of the taxpayer and the commission,” staff analyst Steven Roetger said at Wednesday’s hearing.
Georgia Power would be able to declare the unit operational once testing is complete and repairs are required. If the unit is found to be unreliable or does not perform as much as expected after that, the staff and company have agreed that the commission may order refunds when it examines the remaining costs of Unit 4 for prudence in mind. the end of the project.
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