EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER 2015 Annual Report

With new president and ceo,
james e. fuller

Click on boxes to see the answers.

Sustainability is gaining importance every day. Does MEAG Power have a part to play in this movement?

What are your thoughts on renewable resources?

What should we know about MEAG Power and the Clean Power Plan (CPP) proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?

Sustainability is gaining importance every day. Does MEAG Power have a part to play in this movement?

We are already delivering electricity to our Participants that is 57 percent emissions-free. This is one of the most favorable energy portfolios in the Southeast, and that puts us in a very good position with many businesses. By 2021, between our existing and new nuclear units and the hydro resources from the Southeastern Power Administration, MEAG Power will be delivering 65 percent non-emitting energy. When MEAG Power receives its full allocation of energy from Vogtle 3&4, 20 years after commercial operation, and assuming we receive additional licensing extensions on nuclear Plant Hatch 1 and 2, our emissions-free percentage could be even more exceptional.

What are your thoughts on renewable resources?

Over time as our existing resources mature, MEAG Power may propose to the Participants a project consisting of renewable resources. The Southeast has limited opportunities with wind generation, but biomass and solar are possibilities. However, renewables have been subsidized by various tax benefits that are, generally, unavailable to the nonprofit segment or available only through complex and costly structures. We will continue to seek changes to existing regulations and legislation to allow MEAG Power to take advantage of these incentives so as to level the playing field with taxable entities.

What should we know about MEAG Power and the Clean Power Plan (CPP) proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?

We believe the CPP’s objective, namely cutting carbon dioxide emissions, is sound, but the ramifications of what the EPA has proposed has consequences. We also believe that in this instance EPA is overreaching its statutory authority and acting well beyond the intent of the Clean Air Act.

The electricity MEAG Power delivered in 2015 had an overall emission rate of no more than 640 lbs. CO2/MWh. This is significantly below the national average, making ours already one of the cleanest generation fleets in our region. With the CPP, additional reductions will be required, which could result in greatly reduced or prematurely closed fossil-fueled generating units. The problem is these resources, once stranded, still have fixed costs in place through 2042. The result would be increased electricity prices and that would negatively impact all MEAG Power Participant communities.

The relationship between MEAG Power and its members is critically important. How do you keep this relationship positive?

Service, trust, reliability and competitive wholesale power costs are the basis of a solid relationship with our Participants. Our objective is to be the low cost wholesale power provider in the State of Georgia. If we accomplish this objective, the Participants have more flexibility in establishing retail rates so as to attract growth.

When it comes to service, we are always available to counsel our Participants where we can, and this can especially benefit some of our smaller communities in the area of municipal finance or utility worker training. Our communities also look to us to monitor the regulatory environment and keep them aware of initiatives that could impact the reliability, safety or economics of their wholesale electric power supply as well as their local utility.

Furthermore, it is important for our staff to relate to the communities that we serve. For this reason, we have instituted a training program for all new employees in which they spend time with several, different-size Participants. The objective is that they gain a better understanding of the local structure, challenges and people that are the focus of every function at MEAG Power.

Georgia is a state with many pluses. How are MEAG Power’s Participants taking advantage of that positive environment?

The state’s desirable logistics, building sites, tax abatements and emphasis on education are reflected in our communities, and they are promoting these attributes in terms of their individual situations. Also, our Participants, in part because of low wholesale power costs, are building on that advantage and having considerable success attracting new business and adding customer choice loads.

What makes you proud of MEAG Power?

I am proud of the governance and staff at MEAG Power. They have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to meet every challenge by working extraordinary hours to achieve positive results. I also take pride in the investment MEAG Power has made in Plant Vogtle Units 3&4. We were willing to take a leadership position and be a co-owner in some of the first nuclear units to be built in the United States in more than 30 years. Despite a schedule delay reflected in the current projected commercial operation dates, the savings resulting from the Build America Bonds financing and the Department of Energy loan substantially offset the delay costs and result in the current overall projected cost being consistent with the original cost projection provided to the Participants at the time they were committing to the Project in 2008. I am extremely proud to be able to make that statement at this point in the Project.

These new units, when they come online, will give us another economical, emissions-free resource at stable prices. With a projected operating life of 60 years, this generation should largely satisfy the growth needs of our member communities well into the future.

 

The relationship between MEAG Power and its members is critically important. How do you keep this relationship positive?

Georgia is a state with many pluses. How are MEAG Power’s Participants taking advantage of that positive environment?

What makes you proud of MEAG Power?