Commissioners to make Nuclear decision - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners to make Nuclear decision

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November 29, 2007

Albany - Albany Water, Gas and Light commissioners will decide in the next 90 days whether to invest up to $200 Million in nuclear energy. While it's a lot of money it could be a decision that would save you money.

As a Water, Gas and Light customer, the power you get to turn on your lights comes from one of three sources, coal, water or nuclear.  Right now, there's plenty of power coming into the city for your home, but in the future, there may not be. "We know that nuclear power is probably the most efficient power and I think it will serve the city well if we did invest in the nuclear plant," said Dr. Willie Adams, Chairman of the Water, Gas and Light Commission.

Plant Vogtle, near Augusta is expanding and WG&L has an opportunity to invest in it. Now commissioners must decide how much power they'll need and figure out how to finance it. "If the city should decide to purchase 50 units," said Adams of course that's a couple hundred million dollars, but the figure we heard today is $50 million that we should consider."

Here's the scary part of this major commitment: Albany may only need a small amount of extra power when the plant expansion is complete, but 30 years down the road, may need much more. Commissioners have to essentially buy the rights to that power now, but they could sell some of it off until the city needs it.

David Brian said, "It's an attractive opportunity for the Water, Gas and Light commission because it's relatively clean. It doesn't have the emission issues that we have with coal projects that so many folks are worried about and it's also relatively inexpensive. At least to current estimates."

But one thing is for sure. If you don't want to be left in the dark, a decision has to be made now, to keep your home powered.

Water, Gas and Light is expecting an $80 Million rebate from the Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia. The commissioners could use some of that money to pay for their investment in Plant Vogtle or they could issue bonds.

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