Georgia Power succeeded in its petition to get the Georgia Public Service Commission to suppress testimony given by Glenn Carroll, Nuclear Watch South's coordinator in the 13th Semi-Annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring Review (VCMR). Nuclear Watch South has called for the cancellation of Vogtle 3 & 4 construction based on data from Georgia Power's own annual reports that show the company is overbuilt in a flat market since the 8th VCMR in 2013.
In this, the 13th VCMR, Nuclear Watch South introduced a new data set showing that Georgia Power's profits have surged above 20% average higher in the Vogtle construction (and CWIP tax) years. Apparently the profit data is concerning enough that Georgia Power moved to suppress it.
Despite the setback for Nuclear Watch South, members of the public were out in force making their mark on the rusty public process at the PSC. After waiting more than an hour through a dry, workaday PSC agenda, the public was informed that they would have to wait until the end of the day for the public hearing and their chance to speak.
Savvy activists on the scene quickly addressed the situation to have the public testimony put back in at the beginning of the agenda, as it has been for many years. Speakers were restricted to two minutes each in which a wide array of damning facts about the lack of need for Plant Vogtle and the injustice of giving Georgia Power historic profits through a tax collected for construction in progress were laid out amidst repeated pleas for the Commission to be more responsive to the public which it serves.
Bernice Johnson-Howard, field director for Georgia Women's Action for New Directions (WAND) in Shell Bluff, delivered moving testimony about the reactors at Vogtle 1 & 2 being a constant terrorist threat which had brought cancer and illness to her community. She reminded the PSC that karma accrues to their actions and inactions.
Several news stories carried Nuclear Watch South's message afterwards (see sidebar for links).
Nuclear Watch South thinks the public may have a more than passing interest in how well Georgia Power is doing profit-wise as its big nuclear project racks up significant delays and cost overruns while the rest of the public copes with a prolonged recession. Here therefore is the prepared testimony of Nuclear Watch South.
My name is Glenn Carroll and I represent Nuclear Watch South's Georgia members. I have been involved in nuclear issues for more than 25 years beginning with Vogtle Units 1 and 2. I am presenting information in the 13th Vogtle Construction Monitoring Review concerning the public necessity and convenience of Vogtle 3&4 reactor expansion. The information I present is publicly available and understandable without special experience or education.
We rely upon Georgia Power's annual report data to show that Vogtle 3 & 4 do not meet the necessity test. The main points of interest are:
1) Georgia Power's sales volume 2004-2014
2) Georgia Power's capacity utilization 2004-2014
3) Georgia Power's profits 2004-2014
In addition, we rely upon the Georgia Code of Law to prescribe the PSC's duties, authorities, and powers to revoke Vogtle 3 & 4's certificate of necessity.
PSC'S LEGAL AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
The PSC's website says its mission statement is "to ensure that consumers receive reasonably priced electric service."
The State of Georgia Rules and Regulations requires in all cases that every member of the Commission "reserve his opinion and in no way commit himself in advance ... until the facts and evidence are all submitted" and that "the Commission will hold no presumption in favor of the position of any party ... and shall only give weight and credit to any party ... as can be supported by credible evidence in the record."
The Georgia Code 45-3A-6 gives the PSC the authority to modify or revoke a certificated capacity resource if reexamination shows that the resource is no longer needed.
Taken together, the three statutes quoted from Georgia law give the PSC the responsibility to ensure Georgia consumers reliable electricity at reasonable rates, the mandate to weigh all the evidence before issuing an opinion, and the power to revoke the certificate of a resource that does not meet the necessity test.
GEORGIA POWER DATA SHOWS VOGTLE 3 & 4 ARE UNNEEDED
Georgia Power's annual report data reveals that the company is overbuilt in a shrinking, shifting market and no longer needs the power from Vogtle 3 & 4. Meanwhile, Georgia citizens are paying an unprecedented nuclear tariff for Vogtle construction which is resulting in unprecedented profit increases for Georgia Power.
We call upon the Commissioners to put the situation to rights by revoking Vogtle 3 & 4 certification and cancelling Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery collection.
We would add, that Georgia Code 45-3A-6 cited above allows Georgia Power to recover the cost of shutting down the unneeded nuclear plants at Vogtle 3&4 so the Company is not harmed in any way by stopping Vogtle construction.
Charts which you have seen before in the 12th VCM illustrate key Georgia Power metrics which plainly indicate capacity from Vogtle 3 & 4 are not needed.
Georgia Power Volume Sales 2004-2014
In 2009, Georgia Power forecast the need for an additional 8,000 MW of capacity from 2008-2018 for a 4.1% annual growth in capacity. Georgia Power’s forecast was wrong. The past 10 years have seen only a 0.2% growth in Georgia Power’s retail market and -0.4% reduction in its wholesale market.
Georgia Power Capacity Utilization 2004-2014
Georgia Power’s capacity utilization factor declined from 72% to 58% in the period 2004-2014. Georgia Power's capacity utilization has never compared favorably with the national average, and is currently 25 points below the national average.
The Georgia Power performance data show clearly that additional capacity from Vogtle is not needed.
To speak to a point about population growth in Georgia raised by Commissioner McDonald in the last hearing, we looked it up in the U.S. census data, and the population in Georgia has indeed grown by 14% during 2004-2014 (years corresponding with our charts). That was a growth of over 1,000,000 people. And yet, Georgia Power's capacity utilization has declined staying far below the national average and its sales have remained flat. Whatever the reason, LED lighting, clotheslines, or trying maybe trying to save money on rising energy bills, customers appear to be practicing energy efficiency in Georgia!
GEORGIA POWER SHOWS PROFIT SURGE FROM CWIP TAX AND VOGTLE CONSTRUCTION
In the 13th VCM we introduce a new data set from the Georgia Power reports.
Georgia Power Profits 2004-2014
In examining Georgia Power's profit data we see a clear line of demarcation where the profit jumps more than 20% from 2010 to 2011.
2011 is the year that Vogtle construction began and that the NCCR, or CWIP, tariff was imposed upon Georgia Power customers. During the "CWIP years" Georgia Power's profits have remained at historic high levels well above the $1 billion mark and have escalated each year.
The Vogtle construction years have seen nearly one day of delay for every day of construction, to the tune of $2 million per day, amounting to over $2 billion in cost overruns while the project is a little over 25% complete.
In an unregulated market, Georgia Power’s profits would be linked to its performance. It is only through the PSC’s authorization that Georgia Power has posted such large profits for its shareholders at the expense of the Georgia ratepaying public.
It is unfair and the people of Georgia look to you, the Public Service Commission for relief!
CHEAPER TO CANCEL VOGTLE CONSTRUCTION THAN TO COMPLETE UNNNEEDED REACTORS
Approximately $6 billion has been sunk into Vogtle 3 & 4 by Georgia's citizenry with at least $12 billion remaining to be spent. It will cost Georgians FAR LESS to stop construction of Plant Vogtle than to be forced to invest $12 billion more in capacity resources that fail the necessity test.
Georgia Power is protected, to repeat, from all financial risk, whether it completes, or cancels construction of Vogtle since Georgia law allows Georgia Power to recover the cost of shutting down unneeded resource construction.
Finally, contemplate this, the PSC staff calculates that construction has progressed from 23.7% complete in the 12th VCM to 26.4% complete in the 13th. Rounding up to a 3% completion rate per every six months (which may be overly generous now that Vogtle effectively has no contractor) we forecast that if Vogtle construction isn't stopped we are destined to meet up again and again and again and for the 38th VCMR in 2027.
• The Georgia Public Service Commission's mission is to "exercise its authority and influence to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable and reasonably priced ... electric service."
• The PSC has the authority to cancel Vogtle 3&4 reactors at any time if the certificated capacity is no longer needed.
• Georgia Power annual report data reveals that the company is overbuilt in a shrinking, shifting market and no longer needs the power from Vogtle 3&4.
• Georgia citizens are paying an unprecedented nuclear tariff for Vogtle construction which is resulting in unprecedented high profits for Georgia Power.
• The greatest benefit to the Georgia public since Vogtle 3 & 4 no longer meet the necessity test is for the Commission to immediately revoke certification and stop billing Georgia electric customers for Vogtle 3 & 4.
Breakthrough study by IEER proves we can get off coal, oil and nuclear by 2040
ALICE is none other than Nuclear Watch South's Leslie Minerd who is joined by White Rabbit Tom Clements (Friends of the Earth), Red Queen and SC Sierra Club Chair Susan Corbett, and Tea Party Host Extraordinaire, the Mad Hatter, Tim Liszewski of Carolina Peace Resource Center. Alice and Crew crashed the 2008 Tea Party rally in Columbia, SC, and put tax-funded nuclear loan guarantees in front of the Tea Partiers and the local media.