OGLETHORPE POWER CORPORATION: Seeks Solution to Complete Plant Vogtle Construction Project

Oglethorpe Power Corporation issued the following announcement on Sept. 24.

Citing ever increasing costs, Oglethorpe Power announced that it submitted a conditional vote in support of completion of the project in Burke County, Ga. Oglethorpe's condition in support of the project includes several cost-control options, such as one scenario in which there is a cap at the current project budget (inclusive of the $2.3 billion budget increase) but allows for an additional $800 million to be added to the contingency, raising it to $1.6 billion. Oglethorpe holds a 30 percent stake in the project.

Since commencement of work on Vogtle 3 and 4 over a decade ago, the project's partners have faced an ongoing series of cost increases. The latest, as Southern Company now projects, is an additional $2.3 billion since December 2017. Collectively, the overruns have expanded Oglethorpe's share of the project's budget from an initial estimate of $4.2 billion to approximately $7.25 billion.

With four years remaining on the construction schedule, Oglethorpe sought to protect electric cooperatives, and their rural energy consumers, and hold Southern Company accountable for its newly revised budget and let their owners be responsible for any additional amounts beyond this level.

"We are hopeful that the Southern Company will agree with a proposal to protect our rural energy consumers in Georgia who should not be responsible for excessive future increases in the costs of this project," said Mike Smith, president and CEO of Oglethorpe Power. "The Southern Company directly owns and controls Southern Nuclear Corporation (SNC), which has control of the site and project oversight of Vogtle 3 and 4. As SNC's owner, Southern Company should be willing to bear further risk of SNC's missed budgets, not our members."

According to Smith, Oglethorpe Power and its member EMCs believe in nuclear power as a reliable source of clean, carbon-free electric generation that could benefit the region for 60 to 80 years. However, they recognize it would not be in their electric consumers' best interests to continue building a project with uncapped, unchecked expenses.

"Capping our costs, and by extension the costs borne by our EMC members, is a reasonable request and a prudent business decision that would allow the project to move forward," Smith added.

Original source can be found here.

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Oglethorpe Power Corporation

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