Georgia Power customers worry about rate hike due to nuclear plant

The next increase is to offset the cost of the Plant Vogtle.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 7:24 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia Power announced some big news on Monday. The Unit 3 nuclear reactor at Plant Votgle began producing energy for Georgia businesses and homes in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.

“The Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear expansion is another incredible example of how Georgia Power is building a reliable and resilient energy future for our state,” said Kim Greene, Georgia Power CEO, president, and chairman. “It is important that we make these kinds of long-term investments and see them through so we can continue providing clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy to our 2.7 million customers. Today’s achievement is a testament to our commitment to doing just that, and it marks the first day of the next 60 to 80 years that Vogtle Unit 3 will serve our customers with clean, reliable energy.”

This big announcement could have an impact on ratepayers’ bills. This would be the third rate increase in the last year. The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) estimates that just this year alone, the average ratepayer’s bill has increased $24 a month. They estimate that the average ratepayer’s bill could be up to $48 more in the next two years because of increased costs.

The next increase is to offset the cost of the Plant Vogtle. The project is roughly seven years late and $17 billion over budget

Bob Sherrier, a staff attorney at the SELC, said raising rates puts an unfair burden on ratepayers.

“For the average Georgian, this means less money they have to pay for food and groceries. In the summertime, power bill goes up. Plant Vogtle is adding to those, and for people on the margins, this is a substantial hit,” said Sherrier.

“Nuclear energy is the only zero-emission baseload energy source available today, offering high reliability, consistently low and stable fuel costs, and efficient operations around the clock. Any additional increase to rates will be decided on by the Public Service Commission at a later date,” said a Georgia spokesperson.

The Georgia Public Service Commission will be holding prudency hearings starting in August. The panel will hear testimony from lawyers, analysts, and ratepayers.

If you are struggling to pay your bill, Georgia Power does offer an assistance program that is based on your income.