The Georgia House OK’d a bill allowing Georgia Power to begin charging ratepayers early for interest charges to expand its nuclear plant near Augusta. The measure will boost electric rates beginning in 2011, six years before the two new nuclear reactors are scheduled to go online.

The House approved the bill 107 to 66 after more than three hours of debate.

Electric rates will rise by an average of $1.30 a month in 2011 to pay for the interest charges. Those costs will step up gradually until 2017. Supporters argue that it’ll trim $300 million off the project’s $14 billion price tag.

Georgia Power has dispatched teams of lobbyists to push the bill, and so far their efforts have paid off. The measure has already cleared the Senate.

Rome News Tribune