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Increasing concern among lawmakers over ballooning costs of Vogtle nuclear power plant project

Vogtle’s Escalating Costs Concern Lawmakers, Stakeholders, Power magazine, 09/20/2018 | Sonal PatelThe Vogtle nuclear expansion’s “ever-escalating” cost is concerning several members of Georgia’s General Assembly, according to a letter sent to partners building the much-delayed project.

Twenty lawmakers from both houses of state government—19 Republicans and one Democrat—sent a letter to the board of directors at Georgia Power Co., Oglethorpe Power Co. (OPC), and Municipal Electric Authoity of Georgia (MEAG Power), lamenting continuing cost increases, and their impact on local utility rates, despite a change in project management eight months ago.

The lawmakers urged the utilities to ensure a cost cap is established before the utilities vote in support of moving forward with the project, as required by the amended co-owners agreement, before September 24. Georgia Power holds a 45.7% stake in the two-unit Plant Vogtle expansion, while OPC (30%), MEAG Power (22.7%), and Dalton Utilities (1.6%) hold the remaining shares. MEAG Power could vote as early as today (September 20). A 90% vote for the project is required for the project to continue……….

Legal Complications

As the fate of project grows murky, a legal battle is also brewing that involves the City of Jacksonville, Florida, and JEA, the city’s municipal utility that serves about 458,000 electric customers. The entities on September 11 asked a federal appeals court for a declaratory judgment on a power purchase agreement (PPA) the utility entered into with MEAG in 2008 for power from Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which were originally scheduled for completion in April 2016 and April 2017.

Completion dates have since been extended by five years: Unit 3 is expected to come online in November 2021, and Unit 4 in November 2022. “A new unlimited cost-plus reimbursement agreement was implemented without JEA’s approval in June 2017 after the project’s initial general contractor, Westinghouse, declared bankruptcy. The amended agreement has increased JEA’s liability from $1.4 billion to more than $2.9 billion—an uncapped and rising amount,” the company noted.

MEAG Power on September 11 filed its own lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, claiming that the Florida entity became “irreversibly obligated” when the company entered into the PPA to pay its share regardless of “whether or not the project is completed or is operating or operable.”………


September 21, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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