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Ga. municipal utility subpoenas 2 law firms for documents in Vogtle lawsuit

Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia subpoenaed Florida municipal utility JEA's former legal counsel, seeking documents related to letters by attorneys stating that JEA's power contract for output from the Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant was legal.

The utility, known as MEAG, issued subpoenas Oct. 22 to law firms Bryant Miller Olive and Rogers Towers PA for documents "referring or relating" to four letters sent to MEAG, the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program and several banks. According to court filings, the letters discuss the firms' legal opinions on JEA's power purchase agreement, or PPA, for electricity from Vogtle units 3 and 4, two unfinished nuclear reactors.

"The JEA PPA constitutes a legal, valid and binding obligation of JEA enforceable against JEA in accordance with its terms," Bryant Miller Olive wrote in a Sept. 9, 2015, letter to MEAG and Wells Fargo & Co..

"It is our opinion that the agreement is a legal valid and binding obligation of JEA enforceable against it in accordance with its terms," Rogers Towers wrote in a March 11, 2010, letter to MEAG and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Morgan Stanley & Co., JP Morgan Securities Inc., BMO Capital Markets GKST Inc., First Southwest Co. and Wachovia Bank.

MEAG's subpoenas are part of the two utilities' ongoing legal feud over the validity of JEA's Vogtle contract for units 3 and 4. In 2018, JEA wanted MEAG, which has a 22.7% stake in Vogtle, to vote against continuing construction of the two reactors after Vogtle project partner Oglethorpe Power Corp. revealed that the total project costs to finish the two reactors would increase by $1.5 billion for MEAG, Oglethorpe, Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power Co. and the City of Dalton, Ga. MEAG declined to do so.

MEAG and JEA sued each other in September 2018 over the PPA. A judge tossed out MEAG's lawsuit against JEA in the Georgia district court in April 2019, while JEA's legal claims against MEAG continue in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. However, a judge later ordered to move the case to Georgia.

On Oct. 7, JEA notified the court that it had served subpoenas to six organizations, including credit rating agency Moody's and the DOE, for documents related to the disputed power contract.

Representatives for Bryant Miller Olive and Rogers Towers could not be immediately reached for comment.