The president of Southern Co. says the utility is no longer seeking to raise the construction budget for a nuclear plant in eastern Georgia. CEO Thomas Fanning told analysts Wednesday that the Atlanta-based company reached a preliminary deal with Georgia officials.
The Southern Co. is taking an additional $450 million in losses on an over-budget coal-fired power plant in Mississippi. Southern Co. previously took a $540 million loss on the plant. Georgia utility regulators are watching the company’s approach to overruns at the Mississippi plant as they consider excess costs at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.
Gov. Nathan Deal said recently that environmental lawsuits are to blame for the rising cost of building a nuclear plant in eastern Georgia, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. Speaking to reporters last week, the Republican governor accused environmental groups of increasing the cost of expanding Plant Vogtle by filing lawsuits against the project. Deal said he found it ironic that the groups he accused of starting costly litigation were then complaining about cost.
A utility regulator in Georgia has asked Southern Co. executives whether the firm has considered taking a loss on the extra costs for building a nuclear power plant. That question came Thursday as utility officials gave their first testimony since announcing the company could not meet its state-approved budget to build two more reactors at Plant Vogtle, southeast of Augusta.
The federal government has granted a third deadline extension to owners of Plant Vogtle to agree to terms for federal loan guarantees of up to $8.3 billion to help finance two new nuclear reactors in Georgia.
Federal authorities are investigating a factory that supplies parts to nuclear power plants under construction in the Southeast over allegations that employees broke quality control rules and falsified records.
A bill to prevent Georgia Power from reaping profits on cost overruns at Plant Vogtle failed to pass the state House before last week’s deadline. But the bill’s sponsor says the issue – and the bill – aren’t dead yet.
A state House subcommittee has voted to kill a bill aimed at reducing the profits a utility could earn if construction of a nuclear plant exceeds the original budget. Morris News Service reports the legislative panel voted Tuesday to strike the bill down after Georgia Power Co. — a subsidiary of Southern Co. — announced it needed to raise its construction budget for Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro by $737 million to $6.85 billion.