Friday, July 22, 2011

Georgia Nuke Socialism: Ratepayers Will Get Nuke Cost Overrun Bill

The Georgia Public Service Commission ditched a proposal that Georgia Power Company and its captured, monopoly electricity ratepayers split the bill for any cost overruns at the the two nuclear plants under construction. Ratepayers will pay for all overruns, and profits to Georgia Power will not be reduced in the event of cost overruns.

The two nuclear plants have a current price tag of $12 billion, and the French experience at the EDF nuke plant under constuction at Flamanville indicates that Georgia electricity customers have a lot to worry about. The EDF project is now 50 per cent over budget.

In Georgia that would be the equivalent of $6 billion worth of pain and rate shock paid by consumers alone. How likely is a 10 percent or more overrun? The Areva nuclear plant under construction in Finland is also years behind schedule and billions over budget.

Both in Georgia and France ratepayers take all the financial risk, every penny of it, and in Georgia private investors keep all the profits. In Georgia, nuke profits are privatized and risks are socialized.

What happens to profits in France? The government gets the biggest piece, because EDF is owned by the French government. Socialist schemes are the only way to build a new nuclear plant in Georgia or France. The costs and risks are too high for real capitalist markets.

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