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Wednesday September 18th, 2019 6:08PM

Proposed deal would delay report on Georgia nuclear plant

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia utility regulators are being asked to delay a Georgia Power report showing whether the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion has fallen further behind schedule.

Additional construction delays would increase the project's costs — and that could lead to higher power bills for many Georgians, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Some consumer and environmental groups are objecting to any delay in updates.

"The company and the project do not deserve this break in scrutiny at this critical time," Sara Barczak, a director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, wrote in an emailed statement to the Journal-Constitution.

"The ratepayers do not deserve this extended period of a lack of protection and transparency as their exposure potentially increases by more than a billion dollars," Barczak said.

The delay also means the company won't make its latest disclosure while the state legislature is in session, said Liz Coyle, the executive director of Georgia Watch.

"There is a lack of transparency in what is happening with schedule and budget at a time when the legislature could take some action," Coyle said.

Georgia Power denied the move is an intentional effort to avoid the legislative session.

Georgia Power spokesman Jeff Wilson wrote in an email that "based upon the company's current analysis, the Vogtle project remains on track for completion within the PSC-approved schedule of November 2021 (Unit 3) and November 2022 (Unit 4)."

Significant progress has been made on the nuclear project, with about 700 pipe-fitters, electricians and other craft workers added since the beginning of November, Wilson wrote.

Georgia Power is regulated by the state Public Service Commission. It's required to give an update on Vogtle's progress every six months.

The next report is due in late February, but the commission's staffers are proposing an agreement with Georgia Power to delay the report. The commission's staff cites a heavy caseload as one reason for the proposed delay.

The commission could vote on the issue later this month.

___

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

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