The fee is to pay for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, up front.
When Georgia Power floated the idea to the legislature in 2009 the figure they used to sell the legislation was $1.30 per month. Then after the legislature passed the bill the amount went to $3.73 per month.
The total will be $8.86 additional per month in 2015. In my survey, no poll respondent was paying less than $6 per month and the average cost was around $14.
The two new reactors are slated to be generating power by 2016 and 2017. If I were a betting man I'd say the odds of these two reactors coming online on schedule and within budget are long. The first two reactors went over schedule by 9 years. That's the good news.
They went over budget by over a thousand percent! The original cost estimate was $600 million, they wound up costing over $8 billion.
Without going into the politics behind SenateBill 31 which changed Georgia's law to allow the company to collect the costs upfront from their customers, let's just say Georgia Power has a pretty sweet deal. The parent company, Southern Company just remarked to their shareholders that the new fee lifted their profits last quarter.
I decided that I would run the numbers and see what the average household would end up paying in fees by the time the reactors were online.
Using the real world numbers from the poll I conducted, the average cost per household for the nuclear construction fee is $14. That's $168 per year, let's call it $170. Georgia power claims the first reactor will be online by 2016, so four years from now. That's 680 dollars.
I don't believe there's a chance that either one of the reactors will come online in less than 8 years. The permit has already been delayed until next year. Eight years would put the average household dollar amount up to $1360.
Remember this is the money that you will pay over and above what you are already paying, for the same electricity you are currently using. Where's the value added?
With state and federal tax credits $1360 would be about the out-of pocket costs for a $4000 solar hot water system.
The irony is we will all have probably paid for a new solar hot water system that would then in turn have paid for itself in electricity saved by the time that the new reactors start producing a single watt of energy.
What can you do?
The best thing to do today is to reduce your reliance on Georgia Power. The less energy you use the less your Nuclear Construction Recovery Fee will be because it is based on kWh used per month. Weatherize your home, switch to CFL or LED lights.
If you want free hot water, give Metro Solar a call at 404-409-7435.