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Oppose development of Vogtle nuclear power station – and you get smacked down

Kempner: Georgia underdogs confront power, get smacked  By Matt Kempner – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 21 Dec 17,   “……..the Georgia Public Service Commission was holding days of hearings recently, but there was no question where it ultimately would end up: keeping the troubled nuclear expansion of Plant Vogtle alive and giving the monopoly Georgia Power approval to squeeze captive customers for billions of dollars more in cost overruns and extra company profits.

The PSC made it official in a unanimous vote Thursday.

It approved all of Georgia Power’s newly projected spending on the unfinished project, decided in advance that it is all reasonable (though not yet prudent) and set the stage for the company to pocket billions in additional profits because of the delays. ……..

Georgia Power and its contractors busted budgets in every conceivable way. Yet, the company has cautioned that its latest cost projections could still be off. And the PSC’s own staff highlighted Georgia Power’s “mismanagement” of the project and said the expansion is “uneconomic” for ratepayers under cost and risk parameters the company proposed this year……….

In a recent hearing, Prenovitz [opposing the nuclear development] asked company witnesses about Vogtle-related costs that they said they weren’t sure of. Then he started punching numbers into a calculator to help the witnesses along with other figures.

Wise, the PSC’s chairman, wasn’t happy.

“I don’t know if it is your style or your personality or your obstinance or some other adjective or just basically your lack of understanding or that you just don’t even care about the process ….”

“I care very much, sir…” Prenovitz said………..

It became clear the PSC had missed crucial chances to protect ratepayers and that Georgia Power’s problems were in sharp contradiction to its earlier assurances. It turned into a front-page story and a growing concern about the company’s level of transparency.

Prenovitz told me he doesn’t know if he’ll continue to ask tough questions about Vogtle. Preparing filings can take days. Hearings last for hours. “It’s grueling.”

If he does stick with it, he said, “it’s not to be argumentative. It is to do what you are supposed to do, which is to get to the essence or get to the truth.”

December 22, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, opposition to nuclear, politics, USA

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