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Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 8:42am

PSC Could Check Vogtle Costs

State regulators are considering a plan to protect energy consumers. It has to do with potential cost-over runs on Georgia Power's 14 billion dollar expansion of Plant Vogtle.

The advocacy staff of the Public Service Commission proposed the plan. It would limit how much Georgia Power can charge customers for cost overruns. PSC spokesman Bill Edge says it ties the company’s profits to its ability to come in at cost.

"If the certified costs exceeds 300 million dollars, Georgia Power would have a reduced return on equity or opportunity to earn a profit. On the other hand if it goes the other way 300 million dollars under budget, Georgia Power would have an increased return on equity," says Edge.

But Jeff Wilson with Georgia Power says the plan would penalize the company for conditions beyond its control. And he says consumers are already protected by the commission’s periodic review of costs.

"If our costs are not prudently spent then the commission won’t approve those and we can’t recover that, so as long as we’re acting in a prudent fashion and spending based on what is approved by the commission than those costs are recoverable," says Wilson.

The elected PSC will vote on it next Tuesday.