What do Plant Vogtle delays mean for you

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News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Wednesday, August 14th, 2013


BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Progress at Plant Vogtle is continuing with another piece delivered to the site from South Korea this past weekend.

The project as a whole, however, is more than a year behind schedule.

Wednesday News 12 went on a one on one tour of Plant Vogtle to talk about what this means for area jobs and your power bill.

"Different parts of the site are physically at different levels of completion," said Buzz Miller, President of Nuclear Development for Southern Company. "Generally overall by the contract and milestones we're about 50 percent through those milestones."

But that progress has been running a little slower than originally projected causing the company to report cost overruns of 737 million dollars.

"This being first of it's kind facility it is requiring us a little more time," said Miller.

Miller says licensing, lessons learned in the field and the supply chain are all reasons for the delays.

"Without having nuclear built in 30 years in this country, the supply chain was not quite as robust as it needed to be in the beginning," he said.

Units three and four were originally estimated to be done in 2016 and 2017. They've now been pushed back about a year and a half to 2017 and 2018.

So what does that mean for you?

Miller says the estimated rate increase will stay between 6 and 8 percent, money already being collected on every bill. The rate has been slowly increasing since the beginning of the projected and will hit the peak when the first unit goes online.

But Miller says the local economy will also see a positive impact from the delay.

"It's a double edged sword. As you've seen out here we have a lot of happy people working around as you know more than a couple thousand workers out here," Miller said.

2500 people work on the plant everyday and that's expected to increase to 5000 over the next two years.

"From a jobs perspective the predominance of several thousand jobs comes within a 50 mile radius of the plant here," he said.

Those jobs means more money to our local economy and for Georgia Power customers he says in the end the benefits outweigh the costs.

"We stay aggressive on schedule, we stay aggressive on cost but at the end of the day while it's somewhat frustrating on the front end it'll get offset," he said.

Hearings on that 700 million dollars in cost overruns are still going on. Any costs considered prudent would be passed along to customers, but last week the public service commission agreed to defer the decision until the first reactor goes online in 2017.

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