Plant Vogtle

 
Item

JEA’s involvement in the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project has been publicly questioned by industry analysts and Northeast Florida residents. As JEA stakeholders, you deserve to know the facts about Plant Vogtle and JEA’s position regarding its future. JEA will not give up on doing what is necessary to protect our customers.

Below you will find an overview of the project, JEA’s involvement and recent actions regarding our participation in the project.

We don't have to answer for shareholder returns. Instead, we have an obligation to our customers.

Alan Howard, Chair, JEA Board of Directors, September 18, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

Accordion
Accordion Item
Closed Title:What is the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project?
Open Text:

Plant Vogtle is a nuclear power plant in Georgia. A project to construct two new power-generating units at the facility, Unit 3 and Unit 4, is currently in progress. The project was initially expected to cost $14.8 billion, with Unit 3 to be completed in April 2016 and Unit 4 in April 2017.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:What is JEA’s involvement in the Plant Vogtle project?
Open Text:

In 2008, JEA entered into a purchase power agreement (PPA) with one of the project owners, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power). Under the agreement, JEA would support a portion of the project’s costs in exchange for receiving power from the units once they were completed. The total cost of the project attributed to JEA in 2008 was $1.4 billion. This amount was not expected to change over the course of the project.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:Why did JEA enter into this agreement?
Open Text:

This agreement would provide JEA with a means to diversify its fuel sources. This would ensure JEA is not overly reliant on any one fuel source to provide power to ratepayers across Northeast Florida. In addition, this fuel diversity would help maintain price competitiveness for JEA customers.

In 2008, at the time of the agreement, nuclear power was widely viewed as reliable, economical and environmentally sound. JEA’s decision to support the Plant Vogtle project was part of a larger national trend toward nuclear power. There were dozens of nuclear power plant construction projects in active development during the 2000s. 

However, in the years since the project began, a number of developments have made nuclear power plant construction economically infeasible. With the exception of Plant Vogtle, every nuclear power plant construction project in the United States has been shut down. Even so, its progression has not been as stable or reliant as promised.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:What is the current state of the project?
Open Text:

As of August 2018, the project has experienced years’ worth of delays and exorbitant cost increases. The total cost-to-completion estimates have increased to more than $30 billion, with no guarantees that the amount will not rise again. The estimated completion dates have been delayed to November 2021 for Unit 3 and November 2022 for Unit 4. 

Accordion Item
Closed Title:Why have there been delays and cost increases?
Open Text:

There are several reasons why the project has experienced delays and cost increases. One of the most impactful developments was when the project’s initial general contractor declared bankruptcy in March 2017. This led to the project owners entering into a new, amended agreement with a new contractor in June 2017.

The new agreement, which was implemented without JEA’s input, is an unlimited cost-plus reimbursement agreement. This means JEA’s liability is no longer capped at a fixed amount. Because of this, JEA’s liability has increased to more than $2.9 billion, an amount that is subject to additional increases in the future.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:What actions has JEA taken in response to these delays and cost increases?
Open Text:

JEA’s highest priority is to protect the interests of its ratepayers, so it has been working for months to find a solution that relieves its customers from shouldering the financial burden of this project’s delays and cost increases. 

JEA has made several attempts to protect ratepayers from these ballooning costs, such as securing alternate power arrangements that would save the Plant Vogtle project participants at least $2.5 billion over the next 20 years. However, the project owners have refused these alternatives and decided to move forward with construction on the new units.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:What is the purpose of the lawsuits I’ve read about?
Open Text:

In September 2018, JEA and the City of Jacksonville filed a complaint in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida for declaratory judgement on the PPA. The complaint seeks to clarify the validity of the amended agreement, which was never approved by the Jacksonville City Council. JEA believes the agreement violates the Constitution of the State of Florida and should be declared “ultra vires,” which means it is void and unenforceable.

JEA also filed a petition for declaratory order with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The petition asks the FERC to recognize the PPA as subject to the commission’s jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act (FPA). If the PPA falls under the scope of the FERC, it will also be subject to the FPA’s just and reasonable standards. JEA believes the agreement fails to meet these standards due to continuing cost increases and completion delays.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:Why has JEA taken these actions?
Open Text:

The Plant Vogtle project delays and cost increases place an unfair burden on ratepayers across Northeast Florida, so JEA is acting to remove this burden from its customers. JEA has and always will seek to provide reliable and safe utilities at the lowest possible cost and will continue to work in the best interest of its customers and the communities it serves. 

Accordion Item
Closed Title:Why doesn’t JEA just honor the commitment it made signing the agreement?
Open Text:

JEA has a strong financial position that enables it to honor and fulfill all of its financial obligations. In the most extreme circumstances, JEA has enough cash in its electric system to operate for more than seven months and enough cash in its water and sewer system to operate for more than one year without additional revenues. This will not change, in spite of any third-party speculation. Regardless of its financial standing, JEA’s first priority is to protect its ratepayers’ best interests, which is why it’s continuing to act to remove itself from the Plant Vogtle project’s continuing delays and cost overruns.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:Will JEA’s recent credit downgrades resulting from the Plant Vogtle project have an impact on its customers?
Open Text:

It is too soon to determine the effect of the recent credit downgrades, but JEA is acting to ensure these developments do not impact its customers.

Accordion Item
Closed Title:How will my rates be affected if the courts rule that JEA must remain in this agreement?
Open Text:

Regardless of the outcomes of these legal cases, JEA will remain committed to providing reliable and affordable energy to Northeast Florida residents who rely on JEA to power their workplaces, homes and communities.

Item

Timeline of Events

  • 1987 - Plant Vogtle Unit 1 goes online.
  • 1989 - Plant Vogtle Unit 2 goes online.
  • 2006 - Southern Nuclear begins planning to add Units 3 and 4 to Plant Vogtle.
  • 2008 - Engineering, procurement and construction contracts are signed, outlining projected completion dates of 2016 and 2017 for Units 3 and 4, respectively. Total project costs estimated at $14.3 billion.
  • 2008 - JEA signs Purchase Power Agreement with MEAG. JEA’s portion of project cost capped at $1.4 billion.
  • 2009 - Georgia Public Service Commission and Nuclear Regulatory Commission approve construction.
  • 2011 - First reports surface of construction delays, putting project five months behind schedule.
  • 2012 - NRC inspectors report faulty construction with rebar in Unit 3, setting project back six months behind schedule.
  • 2012 - Project contractors file $900 million suit against utility partners for construction design changes. Contractors are forced to repair welding on reactor components, pushing project to one year behind schedule.
  • 2013 - Georgia Power requests approval for cost overruns, increasing cost estimate from $14.3 billion to $15.5 billion (8.4% increase)
  • 2015 - Major contractor shakeups result in Westinghouse becoming sole construction contractor, helping resolve legal disputes about design change costs. Legal settlement increases project cost by $754 million.
  • 2017 - Westinghouse files for bankruptcy protection and Southern Nuclear becomes main project contractor. New assessments push total project cost from $19 billion to about $23 billion and adjusts service launch of Units 3 and 4 to 2021 and 2022, respectively, although Georgia PSC analysts determine project is “no longer economic.”  In light of the bankruptcy, a new unlimited cost-plus-reimbursement agreement is implemented without JEA approval, increasing JEA’s liability to more than $2.9 billion, an uncapped and rising amount.
  • 2018 - Project owners learn completion of the half-built reactors will require an additional $2.3 billion. JEA and the City of Jacksonville file lawsuit against MEAG Power to be freed from Purchase Power Agreement—and uncapped debt obligations—as cost-to-completion estimates now exceed $30 billion.

Ratepayers across Georgia, Alabama and northeast Florida are shouldering this project’s exorbitant and ever-ballooning costs with no guarantee they will receive the power promised by the new units. All of the project owners are responsible for the interests of our collective ratepayers, and JEA will continue working to find a course of action that relieves them of this unfair burden.

JEA, following the decision by Plant Vogtle partners to continue construction on the project, September 24, 2018

View Current Outages

}
/uploadedImages/Images/SiteIntercept_Ad_Outage_Reporting.jpg
Report and track any service issue you're experiencing, or monitor the status an electrical outage.

Report and Monitor Outages