Ratepayer Robbery: Plant Vogtle’s Units 3 and 4
Ratepayer Robbery: Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 is a research and communication effort designed to promote public understanding and civic accountability. What is meant by accountability? That means holding the Georgia Legislature, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), and Georgia Power/Southern Nuclear accountable for decision-making that reflects malfeasance, corporate greed, and commission incompetence and has imposed scandalous and continuous rate increases on Georgia customers. Although the Public Service Commission’s role is in part to protect consumers from monopoly power, they have been woefully remiss in their duties to the people of Georgia. This report will explain how, and why.
What is Plant Vogtle?
Plant Vogtle is a nuclear power plant located in Burke County, Georgia. Conceived as a two unit nuclear power plant in the 1970s, the first two units were completed in 1987 and 1989. Two additional units were planned for construction in 2006, with construction beginning on units 3 and 4 in 2013. These units were expected to take three and four years to complete construction, respectively, and estimated costs were a stunning $14 billion dollars.
As of 2021, construction on units 3 and 4 have yet to be completed and costs have skyrocketed to an unbelievable $32 billion dollars, with billions more to come as construction continues. Worst of all, these expenses are not borne by the utilities that own and are responsible for Plant Vogtle; they are costs that have been passed down onto unsuspecting consumers in Georgia.
Who owns Plant Vogtle?
Plant Vogtle’s units 3 and 4 are owned jointly by four entities. The ownership breakdown is:
- Georgia Power Company: 45.7%
- Oglethorpe Power Company: 30%
- Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG): 22.7%
- Dalton Utilities: 1.6%
Technically, the ownership of Vogtle units 3 and 4 is divided among six entities. To address financing requirements, MEAG transferred its ownership share to three subsidiary limited liability companies: MEAG Power SPVM, LLC (Project M Entity); MEAG Power SPVJ, LLC (Project J Entity); and MEAG Power SPVP, LLC (Project P Entity). Individual “project” amounts below roll up to MEAG’s total ownership of 22.7% percent:
- Project M: 7.69%
- Project J: 9.35%
- Project P: 5.66%
Learn more about Georgia’s Public Service Commission.
The Georgia Public Service Commission plays a vital role in the construction, costs and timeline for Plant Vogtle’s units 3 and 4. Over the course of units 3 and 4 construction, the PSC has authorized Georgia Power and other utilities to pass billions of dollars in new expenses to ratepayers instead of holding them accountable.