PSC says Ga. Power can charge off nuke study costs

[private]The Public Service Commission will allow Georgia Power to charge its customers $99 million for preliminary work on a proposed nuclear plant in Stewart County — even if the company eventually decides not to build it.

PSC members voted 4-1 Thursday to approve that charge-off over the next three years, but capped it at $99 million rather than the $175 million requested by Georgia Power.

Georgia Power can proceed with the planning and license application for a nuclear plant and bring the issue back to the PSC in 2019 when it conducts its next review of the utility’s integrated resource plan.

“The commission will decide then whether the project is approved or terminated,” Commissioner Stan Wise said.

Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald wanted to make Georgia Power’s shareholders pay for the nuclear plant study, but was outvoted by the other four commissioners.

“Let their investors make the investment,” McDonald said.  “I don’t see putting ratepayers’ money at risk right now to do this project.”

“We’ve got to plan for the future,” Wise countered. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

The commission also approved Georgia Power’s integrated resource plan (IRP) that provides for the addition of 1,600 megawatts of power from renewable sources, a move that will be a huge boost to the state’s solar industry.

Georgia Power originally put 525 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in the IRP, but the commission more than tripled that amount.

“With carbon regulation certain to happen in the future, we need to be carbon-free,” Commissioner Tim Echols said.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia Power , IRP , nuclear plant , PSC