JEA Settles Litigation Over Nuclear Plant Vogtle

Jul 30, 2020

JEA has ended its attempt to get out of a deal it made to buy electricity from a Georgia nuclear power plant that has seen billions of dollars in cost overruns.

Thursday afternoon Jacksonville’s public utility announced it has settled litigation and all related claims with the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) in its dispute over the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, which is commonly referred to as Plant Vogtle.

In settling the case, JEA acknowledged the contract is “valid and enforceable.”

“We likewise are pleased to have reached this settlement with MEAG Power and look forward to Vogtle Units 3 and 4 coming online in the near future,” said Paul McElroy, JEA interim managing director and chief executive officer in an email to WJCT News. “The reliable, emissions-free power from Plant Vogtle will help JEA continue to serve our Jacksonville-area customers with ever-cleaner power into the future.”

Earlier this week JEA’s board unanimously agreed to have JEA’s legal team attempt to reach a settlement.

That followed a U.S. District judge’s June ruling against JEA in the lawsuit, saying the contract Jacksonville’s utility set up for the nuclear power plant is still valid. 

JEA entered into its power purchase agreement with MEAG Power in 2008. At the time, JEA’s portion of the project was expected to cost $1.4 billion, but the cost overruns that JEA must absorb totaled $2.9 billion by 2019, and JEA expected that uncapped liability to continue rising.

The agreement was amended in 2014. Despite the cost overruns, MEAG Power maintains the plant will deliver cost-effective power.

“We believe this settlement is the best outcome for all involved, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship that helps MEAG Power and JEA deliver cost-effective, emissions-free power to our respective customers in the coming decades,” said James E. Fuller, MEAG Power president and chief executive officer.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

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