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Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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SB-31: Georgia Power’s Bait & Switch On The Georgia Legislature

by Bill Simon

Based on the information printed in Monday’s AJC article about the true nature of SB 31, I am going to allow for the possibility that the following key leaders in the State Senate were lied to by Georgia Power interests to garner their support:

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
Senator Don Balfour
Senator Chip Rogers (Majority Leader)
Senator Tommie Williams (Senate Pro Tem)

And, if they were lied to, then that would, perhaps, get them off the hook for pushing their fellow state senators to vote in favor of the bill based on the reasoning that it would, and I quote, “save $300,000,000 in interest costs.”

However, if they were lied to, they should start speaking-up now that they were lied to as to the true nature of what SB 31 allows Georgia Power to do.

According to the AJC article, the true nature of the bill is to allow Georgia Power to start collecting their Return on Equity at the initiation of the project. “Return on Equity” means the profit of 11.25% of invested dollars in the new generating capacity.

Return on Equity means $1 Billion in advance before one kilowatt-hour of electricity flows from the new turbines at Plant Vogtle.

Return on Equity means that Georgia Power starts collecting profit on a plant that doesn’t yet exist.

Return on Equity means collecting money on a plant that may never exist (more on this point shortly).

The “saving” of the $300,000,000 in interest costs was THE BAIT that Georgia Power lobbyists and management shoved out there for everyone to munch on until they were caught last Friday by Rep Don Wix’s attempt to amend the bill in the House committee to exclude this $1 Billion in advance income (the amendment failed).

The SWITCH was when Georgia Power Comptroller Ann Daiss called Wix’s calculations “reasonable.

Ah-hah! It’s no longer an argument to “save $300,000,000 in interest costs.” It’s a plea to pay Georgia Power’s shareholders dividends on plant capacity that doesn’t yet exist!

And, won’t exist for at least 6 years…if it ever does exist. Which brings me to this point.

Forget SB 31 for a minute while I give you something to chew on: Have you noticed a lot of banks going out of business lately?

Did you know they were financing, not just individual homes, but entire housing developments? Have you seen any of those unfinished homes and developments cluttering the landscape of your neighborhoods? Homes and half-constructed developments that will not recover for, likely, quite some time? Even some office buildings that had construction initiated are sitting there half-finished, silt fences wasting away with no construction activity for the last year.

So, we have a few examples of construction projects that are begun, but not finished, right?

Where’s the guarantee in SB 31 that IF the plant either 1) isn’t built in the 6-years they are all talking about it being built by…and/or 2) is never completed…truly, it is a possibility for a construction project of ANY size to not be completed (again, look at all the unfinished homes and developments in your neighborhoods) that ratepayers cease paying for ROE of a plant that is never completed? Never put into operation? Never generates one iota of electrical power?

That guarantee doesn’t exist. Should be a huge red mark…but, no, every legislator (like every banker who is no longer in business) ASSUMES everything will be just as someone tells them it will be…2 years before the project even begins.

Where is the assurance to the ratepayer that they are not going to be required to keep paying for something that never materializes? What’s that? Oh, you say the “PSC will review those bills,” right?

Do you folks have ANY idea how incredibly easy it is to fabricate invoices? To get capital equipment delivered to a job site, and never actually put it to use? C’mon, people! Wake-up and lookout for your constituents!

Put some damn protections in this bill that do not allow Georgia Power to rape and pillage ratepayers for an infinite amount of time.

One Response to “SB-31: Georgia Power’s Bait & Switch On The Georgia Legislature”

  1. Resolution on Obama leads to uproar in Ga. House (AP) — But As For Me Says:

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