[Please note: in ADDITION TO the ratepayer robber described below, the new reactors under construction at Vogtle 3 & 4 are ALSO on the receiving end of $8.3 billion (yep, with a B!) in federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees. Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear has NO skin in the game -- economic "moral hazard" compounded with a radioactive twist!]
...The Georgia Public Service Commission — a body of five officials that most voters don’t even realize exists — yanked Georgia consumers’ pants down to their ankles. One thing they exposed in the process: a big gap in the state’s system for regulating a powerful business monopoly.
It took PSC commissioners less than six minutes, without debate, to unanimously slap customers of Georgia Power with responsibility to pay for billions of dollars in cost overruns tied to the for-profit company’s expansion of nuclear Plant Vogtle. The PSC allowed only the barest of reductions in Georgia Power’s profit margins. Even that is a temporary measure compared to decades the company is likely to be pulling in fully caffeinated profits in this arrangement.
But ignore that, because the PSC also ordered that a note be inserted in Georgia Power bills to declare, essentially, what a deal you’re getting.
They decided to include this message because, well, if you just look at your Georgia Power bill you won’t actually notice anything that looks like savings.
In reality, the PSC’s Dec. 20 vote didn’t give Georgia Power and its parent the Southern Company the entire moon, just most of it.
That’s not the way PSC commissioner Stan Wise saw it.
“It’s an extraordinary balance of interests of all the parties,” Wise said during the hearing.
Some others, like consumer advocacy and environmental group leaders, disagreed. But the most troubling issue is how weak of an effort the state put forth to actually do its job... [emphasis added]
Similarly, it took the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners less than a minute to rubber-stamp a 20-year license extension at Fermi 2 in Michigan, on Dec. 23, 2015. The NRC Commissioners "Affirmation Session" took place in an NRC HQ building largely devoid of human beings -- everyone had already taken off for the holiday break. Nevermind that Fermi 2 is a Fukushima Daiichi twin desighed General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor. We've all seen what THOSE are capable of!
And the radioactive Grinches who stole Christmas, at the Vogtle 3 & 4 new reactors construction site in Waynesboro, GA, and at Fermi 2, laughed all the way to the bank.