PSC will delay decision on new nukes planning

[private]The Public Service Commission may delay for two weeks a decision on whether it will allow Georgia Power to charge its ratepayers for a $175 million study of a potential nuclear plant near Columbus.

The regulatory panel was originally scheduled to take that vote, which is being pushed by Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, on July 19.

However, McDonald later realized that the Republican National Convention starts in Cleveland on July 18. McDonald is a major supporter of presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump and a state delegate to the convention.

“I didn’t want to have to do that (vote on the Georgia Power issue) on the phone from Cleveland,” McDonald said.

He asked other PSC members on Thursday to move the vote back to Aug. 2, and the commission will take a formal vote next Tuesday to change the date.

Georgia Power has purchased 7,000 acres in Stewart County as the possible site of a nuclear plant.  Planning work and the application process for an operating license would cost an estimated $175 million — and the utility wants to start charging ratepayers for it now.

McDonald has pushed back against that, saying at a recent hearing, “If you’re that positive about the project, put your money up and show this commission you’re positive about it.”

He wants to bring the issue up in 2019, when Georgia Power will have a rate increase before the commission, and decide then whether the utility can charge off the preliminary costs to its customers.

McDonald said he still thinks Georgia Power should pay for the early work on the nuclear plant out of its own corporate pocket.

“I am very firm on my position,” he said.  “If it’s that good now, they pay for it. If they decide to go ahead with it, it goes into the rate base.”

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Bubba McDonald , Georgia Power , nuclear plant , PSC