For Immediate Release Contact:
Gaela Peters; email@example.com 404-520-5205
December 11, 2017
Pro-Utility PSC Chairman Bans Candidate John Noel’s Testimony in Vogtle Case
Atlanta—Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman, Stan Wise, refused to hear a public witness who signed up to testify at today’s Plant Vogtle hearing: Democratic PSC candidate, John Noel.
Noel’s exclusion from public comment on continuing Georgia Power’s estimated $25 billion nuclear power plant expansion near Augusta came after one announced candidate, Libertarian Chris Vachovetz, had already testified. When Wise called Noel’s name, he noted his status as a PSC candidate and said Noel had “other forums” to express himself. Refusing to hear Noel’s objections, Wise called the next witness. A few minutes later, he called Democrat Lindy Miller to the podium. When it was pointed out that she, too, was a candidate, Wise gave her the same discourteous treatment, but it was clearly the high-profile Noel who caused Wise to proclaim his “new rule.”
“I wasn’t a big fan of Wise before this nonsense, but this is ridiculous,” Noel said. “If I’d been allowed to exercise my rights as a citizen, taxpayer, and ratepayer, I would have told the PSC that Georgia Power needs to shut down Vogtle and develop lower-cost, renewable sources of energy to build a green economy in Georgia.”
“Here’s what makes Wise look especially silly: I have appeared before the PSC several times in the past, first as a state legislator, later as an energy-efficiency expert, and most recently AS A PSC CANDIDATE during June’s Vogtle hearings—all times without incident.” Noel continued, “Maybe I’m getting to Wise. I recently called for his resignation after the chairman revealed a plan to cast a pro-Georgia Power vote in February, resign his seat, and go to work for utilities— thereby also helping rig the 2018 election in favor of a new appointee.”
Most of the 20 witnesses called for cancellation of the nuclear power plant project, now more than five years behind schedule and tremendously over budget. “I especially liked hearing the serenading witness sing ‘Fifty Ways to Leave Plant Vogtle,’” Noel said.
During this week’s hearings, the PSC will hear from witnesses supporting a staff conclusion that completing Plant Vogtle is not economically viable. “Perhaps the commissioners will, after all these years, listen to their own staff,” Noel said. “We certainly need commissioners who do.”
A recent letter from Wise to the power company suggests an attempt to resolve the issue of cancellation. A special PSC administrative session to consider the issue is scheduled for December 21, just in time to be buried from public view during Christmas festivities.