Tricia Pridemore Appointed To PSC
Tricia Pridemore has been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Stan Wise, giving her incumbent status prior to qualifying for the position next month. Pridemore has already announced as a candidate for the seat (disclosure, she’s a friend and I’ve made a contribution). The PSC has quite a few issues on its plate, with the completion of Plant Vogtle and what consumers will pay for it at the top of the list.
The Governor’s full press release is as follows:
Gov. Nathan Deal today appointed Tricia Pridemore to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to fill the vacancy created by the departure of PSC Chair Stan Wise. Pridemore will serve the remainder of Wise’s term and represent the 5th District of the PSC. The appointment is effective immediately.
“I would like to thank Stan Wise for his more than two decades of dedicated service to our state and I wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Deal. “Tricia has significant experience in both the private and public sectors, and I am confident she will be an effective member of the Public Service Commission.”
Tricia Pridemore – Public Service Commission, District 5
Pridemore is a businesswoman with experience in technology, consulting and workforce development. She is a co-founder of Accucast, a software company. Pridemore is the former executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and helped to establish Georgia’s skilled trade initiative, which encourages workforce growth in the fields of energy, transportation and construction. She is a former member of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Board of Governors and the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority. Pridemore was a member of Deal’s 2011 transition team and co-chaired Deal’s Inaugural Committees in 2011 and 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University. Pridemore and her husband, Michael, reside in Marietta and attend Mount Paran Church in Atlanta.
I applaud Deal’s fiscal conservatism and criminal justice reforms. This appointment is notable however for highlighting an area needing attention: cronyism. Pridemore primary qualification is a crony wanting a six figure state office.
Speaking of which, I nearly fell out of my seat when the AJC reported that Stan Wise said in connection with his resignation setting up the appointment: “I salute my colleagues for what they’ve done. We’ve left this state better than we found it.” Vogtle is arguably the worst state government mistake in most people’s lifetimes. I initially supported the plant, sans the pre-payment, but oppose throwing good money after bad. That a remark like Wise’s is passe highlights the degree to which the rot that is Trumpism has pervaded the GOP.
Olens has been a good public servant but wasn’t qualified to lead KSU, but the KSU appointment that made crony Carr AG There are a multitude of other similar or outright bad picks, many being low profile.
Deal appointed Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer of Kool Smiles, to the state Board or Dentistry in early 2016 at the time that Kool Smiles was under investigation for alleged malpractice while defrauding Medicaid of $24 million. Deal urged Mayfield to quit after the AJC began to inquire— in the GOP fashion of the White House, no need to fire the unfit until somebody on the outside spotlights the unfitness. The Mayfield appointment highlights another area that needs attention: transparency.
Who nominated or suggested Mayfield? Did anyone vet a background that included settled lawsuits, media reports in Atlanta, Indiana and Virginia critical of company practices, and Georgia’s own Dept of Community Affairs ordering the return of $190,000 in connection with unnecessary dental work? Nobody knows. Is there even a vetting process for Deal’s 300 appointees? Nobody knows.
Transparency in the Mayfield case was reporting Mayfield passed GBI’s check of his criminal history, driver’s license, credit history and tax liabilities, and keeping a copy Mayfield’s application and documentation of the appointment. Mighty weak.
Given that Ms. Pridemore has been appointed to the position by the Governor of the Great State of Georgia might one assume she is the best choice for the position or the best choice for the powers that be? I suppose it is possible to be both. I do not know Ms. Pridemore but given she has worked with the Governor and her resume smacks heavely of politics I can comfortably consider that her appointment would also be favorable to Georgia Power and or the Southern Company. I am always impressed when they fly into our local county airstrip in their many aircraft, bringing their private security and your money into a seemingly clandestine atmosphere. Having once been a proponent of Nuclear Power I wonder now if it can survive this era of cheap and plentiful energy. I suspect this will be a relative short period of time but we will see. My concerns about plant Vogtle are quickly reduced to memories of the Vietnam police effort. Too much invested to withdraw. I continue to believe that Nuclear Power has a place in this world until something cleaner and less dangerous comes along. What concerns me most in this case, Vogtle represents a reach into the deep pockets of a consumer having no recourse other than the PSC or turning off the switch. GP has been blessed with never ending rate hikes in the form of surcharges attributed to ongoing construction costs and continuous delays with no firm completion date. In fact no clear indication of if or when the additions may be certified and online. I am one of those hard to pigeonhole types that think all forms of energy should be utilized with a caveat to safety first, a nod to acceptable risk and the very real threat to environmental impact. So as an old retired engineer that left his field via the back door of project management, my outstanding question with regards to Vogtle is: Is it more if or when? Welcome aboard Ms. Pridemore.
“completion of Plant Vogtle and what consumers will pay for it”
I am curious as to how this works. I know the PSC is penalizing Ga Power by saying there is $1.7B that they can’t collect from customers. But how does that work? It seems the only way I can think of is to cap their profit margin. Is that what they are going to do?
I can only see two pots of money: Income from ratepayers and profit for the corporation. Where would any other money come from?
Also, am I understanding correctly that financing adds 50% to the total? So if Ga. Power’s construction and capital costs are $5B, then with financing it’s a total of $7.5B? And that reflects the fact the we paid interest in advance to keep financing costs down? Yikes.
The up front costs of Vogtle have been passed on to customers, it is true, but these are mostly small and Georgia is still among the lowest rates in the country. Thanks to the (eventually) cheap and clean energy that is nuclear, that will remain the case for a long time. (Some sites come up with different numbers for this stuff but Choose Energy pegs Georgia at 13th cheapest – https://www.chooseenergy.com/electricity-rates-by-state/)
Nuclear power is obviously not without risk but for those concerned about the impact of fossil fuel consumption on the environment, nuclear must be a chunk of the portfolio. Huge overruns and delays are unfortunate. The unforeseen collapse of Westinghouse was a big factor and the cost estimates from the beginning were, let’s just say, overly optimistic.
Still believe it will all be worth it.