ATLANTA – State Senator Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) and State Representative Becky Evans (D-Atlanta) have introduced the “Ratepayer Surcharge Relief Act” in both the House and Senate. House Bill 1503 and Senate Bill 607 seek to end the Plant Vogtle monthly surcharge for approximately 2.5 million Georgia Power customers.
“This surcharge is especially unfair to our senior citizens,” said Sen. Orrock. “They have been paying for power for 12 years that they may never use. I voted against the surcharge legislation in 2009 because it is an unfair burden on Georgians. I’ve seen reports that the typical household has already paid around $850. I have bi-partisan support for SB 607 because the repeal of this surcharge is long overdue.”
“This repeal will benefit residential and small commercial customers who pay the lion’s share of costs,” said Rep. Evans. “This unfair surcharge is like a triple tax. We pay it at home, at schools, small businesses and in our houses of worship, while Georgia Power shareholders enjoy record profits. Large industrial and commercial customers were largely exempted from paying these costs. Since 2011, almost $4 billion has been paid by customers while Georgia Power has posted $12.8 billion in profits, which is a jump of 20 percent. It’s time to provide relief to our hardworking Georgia families and small businesses.”
In 2009, former Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery Act, which allowed Georgia Power to bill customers to recover the cost of financing the construction of a nuclear generating plant. Rep. Evans, Sen. Orrock and proponents of the legislation believe these surcharges have gone on six years longer than originally proposed.
Senate Bill 607 and House Bill 1503 have been assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee and the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, respectively. The sponsors and supporters of this effort are seeking immediate hearings for the bills to move forward in the legislative process.
The monthly surcharges have been opposed by several organizations, including Nuclear Watch South, an organization that opposes the Georgia Public Service Commission putting the costs of the reactors onto customers. In 2018, the organization collected more than 3,000 signatures calling for an end to the surcharges. The organization believes that ending the surcharges is about surcharge unfairness and is not about nuclear power.
“Enough is enough,” said Brionté McCorkle, executive director of the Georgia Conservation Voters. “Georgia Power should be forced to take responsibility . . . the Georgia Legislature should act now to stop Georgia Power from charging hardworking Georgians — who are already feeling a financial squeeze — for its costly and gross mismanagement of this project.”
“Testimony at the Georgia Public Service Commission confirms that much of the work going on at Vogtle now is costly correction work fixing mistakes,” said Robert Searfoss, Atlanta area resident. “The company, not the customers, should pay for this. We have learned that thousands of pages of required safety documentation are missing or incomplete. The surcharges go on and on while their mistakes cause delay. We should not be made to pay for this. Repealing the surcharge law would put the cost burden on the company, where it belongs, and immediately save money for Georgia electricity customers.”
For more information on SB 607, please click here.
For more information on HB 1503, please click here.
Senator Nan Orrock serves as the Democratic Caucus Secretary. She represents the 36th Senate District which includes the cities of Atlanta, College Park, East Point, and Hapeville. She may be reached at 404.463.8054 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Representative Becky Evans represents the citizens of District 83, which includes portions of unincorporated DeKalb, Atlanta and Decatur. She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 and currently serves on the Education, Intragovernmental Coordination, Economic Development & Tourism and Public Safety & Homeland Security committees. She may be reached at 404.656.0109 or by email at email@example.com.