News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW) -- In the aftermath of last week's ice storm and power outages, restoring electricity has been a top concern for Georgia Power customers in our area.
"When you think about this ice storm and the devastation across this state, those customers that were impacted didn't have service," said Georgia Power President Paul Bowers.
Bowers said the utility worked fast and efficiently to ensure about 99 percent of its customers were back on line as quickly as possible.
"Seven hundred thousand customers were impacted and within a 48 hour to 72 hour period 650,000 customers were turned on," Bowers said.
He spoke today outside the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro. It is part of a major announcement that the U.S. Energy Department will provide $3.46 billion in loan guarantees.
Funds for the construction of two more nuclear reactors at the site. The first nuclear power construction from the ground up in the U.S. in 30 years.
Southern Company Chairman Tom Fanning said the new reactors will produce vital energy for the state.
"In a growing economy, the consuming sector of energy that is growing the fastest is electricity," Fanning said.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Vogtle will also grow the economy. "Providing the prime opportunities for our workers to have middle class, upper middle class, upper upper middle class jobs is absolutely critical," Moniz said.
The project at its peak will employ 5,000 workers. But what will the Vogtle project mean for Georgia Power customers?
"Based on the need for new energy, this was better than the next option which was natural gas by $4 billion dollars on our customers bills," Bowers said.