Georgia Power customers worry about rate hike due Plant Vogtle

Now that the third reactor at Plant Vogtle in Burke County has reached full capacity, the Georgia Public Service Commission will decide who will pay for it.
Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 11:16 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAYNESBORO, Ga. - Now that the third reactor at Plant Vogtle in Burke County has reached full capacity, the Georgia Public Service Commission will decide who will pay for the increase in costs for the project.

It’s estimated Georgia Power customers could have to pay anywhere from nine to 14% more on their bill if the Georgia Public Service Commission approves Georgia Power’s request for customers to pay more for the project. That would cost the average household $400 more a year.

The first two reactors have been generating electricity for decades. The Georgia Public Service Commission approved two more in 2009.

The cost of the third and fourth reactors was originally supposed to be $14 billion, but the projects are now on track to cost the owners close to $35 billion.

Customer Robert Searfoss is concerned that Plant Vogtle will raise the cost of customers’ bills to a point they cannot pay.

Plant Vogtle Unit 4 control room, February 2023.
Plant Vogtle Unit 4 control room, February 2023.(Contributed)

“I don’t care if they’re taking 10 cents, it’s my money, my retirement money. The real costs of Vogtle have not even touched people yet,” said Searfoss.

State lawmakers are getting involved. Rep. Becky Evans sponsored a bipartisan resolution urging the Public Service Commission not to pass on the cost to consumers.

“Georgia Power customers should not have to pay that burden. Georgia Power shareholders should be paying that burden,” said Rep. Evans.

Liz Coyle with the advocacy group Georgia Watch said Georgians already have to make tough decisions.

“It causes people to have to choose between getting medicine, buying a new pair of athletic shoes for their child who plays high school basketball, or putting food on the table,” said Coyle.

The Georgia Public Service Commission will hold several meetings giving you a chance to voice your opinion before a decision is made.

Saving energy

If the news of rate hikes is too much to bear, consider some of these money-saving tips to help save money as the weather heats up:

  • Think thermostat – Heating and cooling costs make up nearly half of your average power bill. Set manual thermostats to 78 in the summer for peak efficiency and make the most of programmable thermostats, which help decrease energy use based on your lifestyle. If you’re going to be away from home for a long period of time, set your thermostat even higher, or turn it off completely.
  • Insulate – An attic insulation of R-30 will help achieve lower heating and cooling bills.
  • Seal ductwork – Leaky ductwork often accounts for 10-30% of total heating and cooling costs
  • Use your fans – A ceiling fan costs only about $1.50 a month to operate and will help you feel cooler without having to adjust your thermostat.
  • Clear air vents – To maintain consistent temperatures throughout your home, keep air vents and return-air registers clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains and rugs.
  • Trim plants and change filters – To ensure your unit receives proper air flow, change filters once a month, or every three months for pleated filters and trim plants around your outside units.
  • Caulk and strip – Replace cracked or peeling caulk or weather stripping around doors and windows to save up to 10 percent on energy use.
  • Use blinds and curtains – Cover sun-facing windows with blinds or curtains to help limit direct sunlight and heat from entering your home.
  • Use double pane/storm windows – They provide additional insulation.
  • Unplug certain electronics – Electronics account for 5 percent to 10 percent of household electricity use. Save up to $100 a year by either using an advanced power strip or unplugging electronics when not in use.
  • HVAC system tune-up – Hire a technician to ensure your HVAC equipment is working properly and schedule an equipment tune-up if necessary.
  • Lighting – Customers can replace their incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs to use 90% less energy. Each bulb can save an average of $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime.
  • Recycle your refrigerator – By recycling a secondary refrigerator or freezer, customers can save an average of $125 in energy costs per year. By recycling an old refrigerator through Georgia Power’s program, customers can earn $35 and have their old refrigerator picked up for free. Visit to learn more.
  • Conduct a free, online energy checkup – Take a quick and easy online energy checkup that provides a customized energy usage report and ways to save money. Visit to get started.
  • Home Energy Improvement Program – The program helps customers reduce energy use, save on energy costs and improve the indoor air quality and comfort of their homes. Residential customers can earn rebates from Georgia Power for implementing and installing qualifying energy savings improvements.
  • Home Energy Efficiency Assistance Program – The program helps eligible income-qualified customers make free energy efficiency improvements in their single-family home. At no cost to the customer, a program contractor performs the recommended energy efficiency upgrades. Customers can learn more and apply at