- The long-awaited expansion of Georgia Power's Vogtle nuclear plant south of Augusta will be delayed another 18 months, but the utility says ratepayer impacts will be lower than previously expected, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.
- The Southern Co. subsidiary filed an 8-K form with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, explaining that its main contractors — Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC and CB&I/Stone & Webster — have informed the utility that the first of two new reactors will not be finished until Q2 2019. The second new reactor will not be finished until Q2 2020.
- The new delays put the Vogtle plant expansion a year and a half behind its current schedule. The two new reactors had been slated for completion in 2017 and 2018. Georgia Power has not agreed to the delay and does not believe "the Contractor’s revised forecast reflects all efforts that may be possible to mitigate the Contractor’s delay," according to the utility's filing.
The delays for the Vogtle nuclear plant just keep on coming for Georgia Power. Before Thursday's filing, the utility had announced previous delays as recent as November of last year. In both cases, Georgia Power says the timeline extensions stem from issues with the contractors constructing the reactors.
Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins told the Chronicle that there's a silver lining to the announcement. Ratepayers will not have to pay more for the plant construction as a result of the delay, at least in the long run. The new timetable may present additional short-term financing costs to the $15 billion project, but they will be offset over time by customer savings once the plant is up and running.
"The project was originally certified assuming a 12% increase in customer rates," Hawkins wrote to the Chronicle via email. "With the financing and other benefits of the project that Georgia Power has proactively pursued, and the fuel savings of nuclear, the overall impact on customer rates is currently projected to be 6% to 8%. This is not expected to change with the revised forecast."
In Sept. 2013, the Georgia PSC voted to delay debate over cost overruns at the Vogtle plant until the first of the two new reactors is finished.