In response to the Associated Press article in The Times on Aug. 29, “Budget on nuclear plant steady, uncertainty remains:” This article says that ratepayers are being saddled with billions of dollars in costs to complete two new nuclear reactors at Georgia Powers Plant Vogtle. It mentions cost overruns, delays and lawsuits, but goes on to say it is cheaper to finish the project than mothball it now.
Analysts for regulators and the power company compared building gas-powered plants to mothballing the reactors now. Why would we need to a new gas plant in their place? For the past 10 years, Georgia Power’s own annual sales and utilization reports indicate declines. In 2004, it was using 78 percent of existing capacity; in 2014, utilization was at 58 percent. The nation average is 83 percent. Why do we need these new reactors? Efficiency is cheaper and cleaner than more power plants, and better for the environment.
I have been to the Public Service Commission meetings. We ratepayers asked if anyone compared the cost of halting construction on these overbudget and behind-schedule reactors to the cost of completing them, to see if it would be better to just stop construction. The answer from all the officials present was “No.”
Maybe billions of dollars in federally guaranteed interest free loans and a 10 percent profit tax on our power bills are the motives for building these reactors, not the need for the electricity. The PSC and the Georgia legislature would serve us better by sundowning the construction work in progress tax on our power bills, and halting construction on reactors 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle.