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Georgia Power VP says utility adding capacity, not seeing pre-recession demand,
by Tom Spigolon
August 12, 2014 01:22 PM | 2771 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>Georgia Power Executive Vice President Ron Hinson speaks at the Paulding Chamber of Commerce August luncheon last week.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Georgia Power Executive Vice President Ron Hinson speaks at the Paulding Chamber of Commerce August luncheon last week.
Georgia Power is building to meet the future electric needs of Georgians, but is still seeing the number of new customers below pre-recession figures, a vice president with the utility said last week.

Ron Hinson told the Paulding Chamber of Commerce last week the company was seeing about 40,000 new customers annually before the Great Recession began in 2008. Though the state economy is slowly recovering, the company has registered about 20,000 new customers this year, putting it on a pace below pre-2008 totals.

The company serves about 3,600 customers in Paulding County, including much of the cities of Dallas and Hiram, and serves more than 2 million residences and 300,000 commercial customers in all but four counties. It employs 8,000 throughout its system.

Georgia Power generates electricity through a variety of methods, including hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, coal and renewable sources like biomass and solar. Coal is its largest single source of power generation at about 40 percent.

“By blending that diversified portfolio together, we can bring our customers the lowest fuel prices that the market can deliver,” said Hinson, the utility’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Its largest coal-fired facility, Plant Bowen in Bartow County, is among the largest in the U.S. at 3.16 million kilowatts and employs about 300.

The company built 2,500 megawatts of new natural gas-fueled capacity at Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Smyrna in 2012, he said.

Georgia Power also joined with Oglethorpe Power and two other companies to begin construction on two new generation units at its Plant Vogtle nuclear plant near Augusta. Oglethorpe supplies power to most of the electric cooperatives in Georgia.

They are the first nuclear plants approved in the U.S. in more than 30 years and will add almost 2,200 megawatts of new capacity, enough to power two million homes, when it goes online as planned by 2018.

Public Service Commission staff said in June that construction delays had increased the cost to $6.76 billion, which was $650 million more than the certified cost, industry newsletter Powernews reported.

The utility, which will contribute $4.8 billion of the cost, has secured U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees and production tax credits to help it finance the project, Hinson said.

Work is proceeding on the plant’s combustion and cooling towers and underground “nuclear island,” he said.

“Good news is the project’s going great. We’re coming up out of the ground,” he said.

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