Ed. Note: The following filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission by Jim Clarkson and Resource Supply Management is reprinted below. In the Matter of: Docket No. 29849 Georgia Power Company’s Twenty Fourth Construction Monitoring Report for Plant Vogtle Units 3 & 4)
It has been clear for some time this Commission will support substantial rate increases for Georgia Power. Over the next two years it is estimated that the Company will seek about a $1 billion in new revenue with even more to follow as the Vogtle unit 4 comes online.
Now that the first case of Vogtle recovery of capital and associated costs has begun, we offer our advice which has been ignored during the construction cases. There are ways to provide to least some relief to ratepayers.
Moving all rates closer to the Company’s average rate of return will enhance rational customer behavior and provide better feedback to the Company for planning capacity needs. In the current state of the economy small businesses are taking a beating and can use relief to stay in business.
Stop the favoritism of renewable generation and electric vehicles. Customer choice, not bureaucratic edicts, should determine what technologies are employed. Renewable sources of generation should be on an equal footing as traditional generation with no dictates from the Commission about how much the Company should utilize. Georgia Power should not put in EV charging stations with ratepayer money thereby stifling private investment. Let Georgia Power use stockholder money when competing in the marketplace for EV charging.
Of course, the root cause of Georgia Power’s problems is the flawed strategies of parent company, Southern Company. Southern’s grand strategy was to build excess generating capacity to sell into the wholesale market. Southern’s unregulated subsidiary, Southern Power, is already a big player in wholesale market with a large fleet of low-risk combined-cycle generators. A second part of the strategy is to place high-risk nuclear plants in its regulated subsidiaries where they have sufficient political influence to obtain approval for uneconomic, foolish investments.
With low-to-no growth in retail power sales, Georgia Power must shut-down still useful generating plants to make room for the Vogtle capacity. These shut down plants are zombie plants. They are dead as far as generating power but live on in Georgia Power’s books for capital recovery and profits on investment. All profits generate collectable income taxes as well.
Further, the Commission should follow staff’s original proposal to defer much of the cost recovery to the next planned rate case when a cost-of-service study can show any overearning to offset the current revenues needs.
THERFORE, the Commission should follow the wise advice presented in this brief.