Add a few more weeks to the countdown for Southern Co.’s Vogtle Unit 3 nuclear reactor to be placed into service.
Southern’s Georgia Power Co. unit on June 16 said that testing at the Vogtle complex had revealed a degraded hydrogen seal in the main generator. Officials say replacing the seal and finishing their testing processes—power-ascension testing is about 95% done—will push the in-service date of the unit into July. Previously, the company had expected to bring the generator online by this month.
This delay comes after Southern executives had to extend their timelines twice early this year after testing uncovered first some vibrations and then a minor valve leak and some pump flow issues. Coming into 2023, the company had circled March for an in-service date. Vogtle’s Unit 4 is expected to be put into service late this year or during the first quarter of 2024.
PNM, Avangrid push deal deadline to December
The leaders of PNM Resources Inc. and Avangrid Inc. have for a third time extended the deadline to complete their planned merger—this time to Dec. 31 from mid-July—to accommodate the New Mexico Supreme Court’s plans to hear oral arguments related to the companies’ plan.
The decision to push the deadline (and include the option to extend it further to March 31) comes about a month after the Supreme Court scheduled a Sept. 12 hearing on the proposed combination of PNM and Avangrid, which was agreed to in October 2020. The deal ran into a snag about a year later when the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission turned down a community benefits agreement, citing concerns about alleged spying by executives of Avangrid parent company Iberdrola as well as the company’s Maine utility.
After the commission was reconstituted, PNM and Avangrid executives jointly filed for another hearing and asked the Supreme Court to dismiss their appeal of the 2021 denial. The two companies also had pushed their deal deadline to July 20 from April 20.
“Our merger with Avangrid remains the right path for the future of our customers, communities, employees, shareholders and the environment,” Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Throughout the process to amend and extend the merger, we continued to prioritize the financial strength of our standalone business, ensuring we provide reliable and affordable service and delivering results.”