Pam Davidson is running for GA PSC District 5, challenging incumbent Stan Wise in the Republican Primary. In this video she spoke to the Cobb County Republican Party, first emphasizing that she wouldn’t take money from regulated companies, and then she spoke about those new Southern Company nukes:
The largest economic development project in the southeast is the two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Now you may say, “I’m a Cobb EMC customer.” Well, when Georgia Power, as the largest regulated utility in the state builds a new facility, often that serves as a merchant facility, or Georgia Power will sell it to the EMCs. So indirectly the Commission votes on EMC issues.
According to Oglethorpe Power the statewide consortium of EMCs of which Cobb EMC is the largest,
Oglethorpe Power is a 30 percent owner of Plant Vogtle’s existing Units 1 and 2 and will own 30 percent of the two new units as well.
Back to Pam Davidson:
But you want to be very very careful about those nuclear plants. And we have problems, ladies and gentlemen. We have problems with nuclear reactors 1 and 2. And all those problems are really cost problems. I am in favor of nuclear energy. I think it’s a great source of energy. However, nuclear energy cannot survive a rennaissance if it’s so expensive.
Here’s the video:
When I spoke to her recently, Pam Davidson said:
I will not take a dime from a regulated utility employee, CEO, whatever. That gives me the authority to do my job. The reason the PSC was formed was to protect consumers against the awesome power of public utilities. When the Commission was formed, it was against the railroads. Now, Georgia Power, and the Southern Company is one of the largest regulated entities in the United States. They are very powerful. The only thing standing between them and the consumers is five individuals. Understand that Commissioners are constitutional officers. That means they are held to very high standards. To take money from people you regulate is immoral.
She added (and you can hear her say much of this in this video):
If I have one thing to say to GA voters today: hold onto your pants, there’s a lot of money involved in this race. Follow the money.
I asked who her largest donor is. She said she was. Her campaign finance filing shows no large contributors.
Now she did try to convince me biomass was a good idea. (It’s possible I’ve done more research on that over the years than she has, as I helped rid our county of a proposed biomass plant.) But biomass and coal are mostly dead in this state, largely because Cobb EMC isn’t doing either anymore (and now Snapping Shoals EMC has backed out of Power4Georgians’ coal consortium). Nuclear and natural gas vs. solar and wind are the real energy questions in this state. As she says, the new nukes at Plant Vogtle are the “largest economic development project in the southeast”. And I agree with Moody’s that that’s a bet-the-farm risk.
Pam Davidson is willing to volunteer that she sees the financial problems with the new nukes at Plant Vogtle, and so far she seems verifiably out of the reach of campaign contributions from energy utilities. She adds that when she ran before in 2008 she was the first candidate to say she would not take money from the power companies. Angela Speir was already in office and also said that. This time, all the non-incumbent candidates say that, so apparently Pam Davidson has started a trend.