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Oglethorpe discloses $3.7B of Vogtle spending

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Oglethorpe discloses $3.7B of Vogtle spending

Oglethorpe Power Corp. has spent $3.7 billion on the Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant expansion, the company said in a quarterly filing, and projects at least $2.8 billion more of its own spending if the facility's owners decide to continue building two new reactors.

The disclosure came as Southern Co. recently said its Georgia Power Co. subsidiary spent $5.9 billion on the project and predicted at least $5.6 billion more of Georgia Power expenditures.

The other Vogtle owners, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities, have not released their shares of spending, and did not respond to requests for comment.

Oglethorpe spokesman Greg Jones said in an email that the $3.7 billion figure is the combination of the utility's construction work in progress, or CWIP, and financing costs. He did not provide specific CWIP or financing figures, as Southern did on its second-quarter earnings call.

Georgia Power's CWIP as of June 30 was $4.5 billion, along with financing costs of $1.4 billion, Southern Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning said Aug. 2.

Oglethorpe's Form 10-Q said its total projected budget for Vogtle ranges from $6.5 billion to $7.3 billion, assuming an in-service date for Vogtle's unit 3 of mid-2021 to mid-2022, and 2023 for unit 4. That range also assumes 100 percent recovery of Oglethorpe's $1.1 billion share of a $3.68 billion guarantee by Toshiba Corp., the parent of former Vogtle contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC.

Southern said Georgia Power will spend at least $5.6 billion more on the expansion before deducting its $1.7 billion share of the guarantee, with that amount tied to in-service date projections of February 2021 for unit 3 and February 2022 for unit 4. The high end of that pre-guarantee spending estimate could be $6.7 billion, Southern said, with respective in-service dates of March 2022 and March 2023 for the units.

If the Vogtle owners recommend to Georgia regulators that they abandon the expansion, it will cost Oglethorpe $210 million to $240 million, the filing said. Oglethorpe also said the collective cancellation cost for all four owners would be $700 million to $800 million.

Southern said it would cost Georgia Power $400 million to cancel the project. That money would go toward costs to terminate contracts for construction and other services, as well as costs to secure the construction site.

Georgia Power, which represents the Vogtle owners before the state's Public Service Commission, said it will present its recommendation to regulators by late August on whether the PSC should issue a "go" or "no-go" decision for continued expansion.

Before the Toshiba guarantee, it is possible that the four owners could together spend at least $25.2 billion on Vogtle's expansion should they continue construction and make the 2021-2022 deadline. If the units go online in 2022 and 2023, respectively, that collective spending could be at least $27.6 billion.

The guarantee could be in jeopardy, however, as Toshiba on Aug. 10 warned of "substantial doubt" as to whether it can stay in business.

The Japanese conglomerate has also guaranteed $2.17 billion for the V.C. Summer nuclear plant's owners, which recently abandoned their expansion. Fanning has dismissed the Vogtle-Summer comparison, calling it "apples and oranges."

Oglethorpe reported second-quarter operating revenues of $367.1 million, down from $379.3 million during the same time last year. Oglethorpe's net margin for the second quarter was $21.4 million, compared to $23.3 million in the second quarter of 2016.