Though I have always regarded legislation as a last resort in solving any issue, I became increasingly convinced that a legislative solution might be necessary to deal with the cost overrun problem at the Vogtle nuclear plant.
In an attempt to avoid legislation, I reached out to Georgia Power in person and in writing, asking them to voluntarily forgo the profits they were collecting on cost overruns at the plant. Only after they declined did I introduce House Bill 267 to correct the problem.
My primary concern was that captive ratepayers with no free-market option were being required to pay not only for cost overruns at the plant, but also profits on those cost overruns. From the outset, my goal in drafting and introducing my bill was to get a fair shake for the captive ratepayers who were forced to be involuntary investors in the plant.
HB 267 garnered significant legislative and consumer support, most notably Georgia Watch board member and nationally syndicated consumer expert Clark Howard. Howard testified before a House committee hearing on the bill stating, “To reward a company for going over budgets is completely crazy. It is harmful to the ratepayers, to the taxpayers, and it is not sound public policy.”
Facing growing media scrutiny and public pressure to do the right thing, Georgia Power has now yielded to a Public Service Commission order to cease collecting profits from cost overruns at Plant Vogtle, saving Georgia’s ratepayers tens of millions of dollars. Having accomplished my purpose, I would like to announce that I am withdrawing HB 267 for consideration.
When people work together for the common good, there is much to be accomplished.
Rep. Jeff Chapman represents the citizens of District 167, which includes portions of Glynn, Long, and McIntosh counties. He was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2012, and currently serves on the Economic Development and Tourism, Interstate Cooperation, and State Planning and Community Affairs committees.