Just as Georgia Power’s credit was downgraded this month for financial losses related to Plant Vogtle, Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the rating of bonds issued by the South Carolina Public Service Authority for an aborted nuclear plant in the Palmetto State. But that’s just part of the story.
By Guest Columnist MICHAEL M. SIZEMORE, founding principal of Sizemore Group and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects
What makes a good business decision? After running a successful architecture firm for decades, I’ve learned a thing or two about what guides good business judgment, and the importance of making sound decisions in the best interest of one’s clients….
And that is why I can say with confidence that the decision to continue the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion, despite a near doubling of its original price tag and more than five years of delay, appears to be bad business, pure and simple.
What members of the Public Service Commission do affects your power bill every month and the mix of coal, nuclear and other electricity sources Georgia uses. That’s why environmentalists watch it closely. Now the candidates for the PSC are showing up on primary ballots all over the state — and on Thursday, they faced off in debates.
The financial fallout continues over the troubled nuclear construction projects in the Southeast, as Moody’s Investors Service on Monday slashed the credit rating of SCANA Corp. and its subsidiary that had been building a nuclear plant in South Carolina. The new rating action cites the hardening political climate in the Palmetto State as detrimental to SCANA’s financial posture.
A new report names the South as the nuclear hub of the United States and calls for an end to all federal funding for Plant Vogtle, along with greater protections for women and the minority, typically low-income communities where nuclear facilities have been built.
From a design point of view, the nuclear projects at Plant Vogtle and the V.C. Summer site in South Carolina were identical. They were to be the first in a new generation of U.S. nuclear reactors, the Westinghouse AP1000s, cheaper, easier to build and safer than their predecessors.
By Lyle V. Harris Georgia Power is likely to get another shot-in-the-arm after announcing plans to complete construction on those ill-fated nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. A far more appropriate response to this epic boondoggle, of course, would be a swift kick in the pants. But don’t count on it.
Atlanta-based Southern Co. has decided to push forward with completion of an over-budget, behind-schedule nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle rather than give up on what has ballooned into a $25.2 billion project.
Southern affiliate Georgia Power Co. filed a recommendation Thursday with the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue construction at the nuclear plant south of Augusta, Ga. The project’s co-owners, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities all supported the recommendation, Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power told Atlanta Business Chronicle in an exclusive interview minutes after the announcement.
Georgia’s utility regulating agency voted Tuesday for an action intended as a show of support for the struggling Plant Vogtle. Meanwhile, in bankruptcy court, filings show lawyer fees are mounting and creditors are claiming they aren’t scheduled to paid for labor and supplies.
The agreement announced by Georgia Power regarding a loan guarantee of $3.68 billion by the parent of the Plant Vogtle contractor may be hollow because of the parent’s weak financial position, according to a comment by Moody’s Investors Service.
The hero or villain of the effort to save Plant Vogtle could prove to be the head of a private equity firm who pioneered junk bonds and was nearly scuttled in 1990. Georgia Power protested terms of the loan deal, but a New York judge provided some protection and last week ordered that the entire $800 million in loan funds should flow.
The bankruptcy papers Westinghouse filed today in regards to Plant Vogtle names the nuclear plant in Georgia as one of two reasons the company faces a dire financial situation. The other reason is a nuclear power plant in South Carolina.
You probably wouldn’t know it from checking our local media outlets, but Georgia Power, the state’s largest electric utility, is at the center of one of the biggest consumer shakedowns in state history – and there could be more bad news on the way.