Georgia Power may take over Vogtle, but deal not yet reached

Efforts are underway for Georgia Power to possibly assume control of Plant Vogtle, the beleaguered nuclear facility in Burke County, Georgia, where numerous Aiken County residents are employed.
By Aiken Standard
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Efforts are underway for Georgia Power to possibly assume control of Plant Vogtle, the beleaguered nuclear facility in Burke County, Georgia, where numerous Aiken County residents are employed.

Uncertainty, though, looms over day-to-day operations until any transition from lead contractor Westinghouse officially takes place.

An agreement "in principle" exists for Georgia Power to assume control of daily operations of Plant Vogtle, though nothing official has been filed with bankruptcy courts or federal regulators.

Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 29, triggering a series of interim financing agreements to prevent work stoppages at Vogtle, as well as the V.C. Summer Nuclear Facility in Fairfield County, where Westinghouse is also lead contractor.

The latest Vogtle extension to be filed in bankruptcy court was scheduled to expire June 3. It was extended 48 hours, to June 5, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.

As of Monday evening, there was no update concerning any extensions, said Jacob Hawkins, a Georgia Power spokesman.

"I don’t have an estimate. Will definitely keep you posted," Hawkins said via email.

No court records relative to the interim assessment agreement had been filed with the New York City bankruptcy court as of Monday.

A June 5 filing with the SEC also discussed the 48-hour extension, but didn't delve any deeper into transferring Vogtle project management.

"Georgia Power (for itself and as agent for the other Vogtle Owners), the Contractor, and (Westinghouse) entered into a third amendment to the Interim Assessment Agreement solely to extend the term of the Interim Assessment agreement through June 5, 2017," the filing states.

"The extension of the term ... is intended to provide additional time as Georgia Power ... works to finalize a services agreement for the Contractor to provide design, engineering and procurement services to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.," the filing continues.

On May 21, Georgia Power stated in a news release that it reached, "in principle," a deal with Westinghouse in which project management at Vogtle would transfer from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power.

This would occur "once the current engineering, procurement and construction contract is rejected in Westinghouse's bankruptcy proceeding," the news release said.

"Georgia Power continues work to complete its full-scale schedule and cost-to-complete analysis and work with the project Co-owners (Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities) and the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best path forward for customers," the statement said.