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News From Georgia Watch

June 30, 2015
In This Issue
Annual Gala
Plant Vogtle
Hospital Accountability Webinar
Access to Courts Threat
CFPB v Hanna
In the News
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Save The Date: September 29th!
Please plan to join Georgia Watch for our Annual Consumer Champion Award Celebration on September 29, 2015. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Liz Coyle at 404-525-1085 or for more information.
Delays and costs mount at Plant Vogtle
This month, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) held hearings on the construction of two nuclear units at Plant Vogtle. According to Georgia Power Company and PSC staff witnesses monitoring the project, construction is at least 39 months behind schedule, adding more than $2 million per day of delay to the cost. Projected cost estimates have increased from $14 to nearly $18 billion! Georgia Watch has intervened and called on the Commission to hold Georgia Power and the contractors responsible for cost overruns. The Commissioners have put off making a decision on who should bear such costs until 2019, but in the meantime, Georgia Power's customers are on the hook for financing costs that are rising unchecked due to the delays. The Company expects to collect more than $3 billion in the monthly nuclear tariff it charges customers before the first unit produces any power! The Georgia legislature approved this outrageous nuclear tax in 2009 with no cap and Georgia Watch is calling on lawmakers to tear up the blank check! Help us continue this fight for Georgia consumers by donating now.
Don't miss our Hospital Accountability webinar on July 8th!
On July 8th at 10AM, we will conduct a webinar to present the findings from our nonprofit hospital community health needs assessment (CHNA) report. At the end of the session, audience members should be better equipped to: 1) evaluate the adequacy of nonprofit hospital CHNAs within their own communities; 2) engage with hospitals in the CHNA process; and 3) encourage their local hospitals to develop impactful community benefit programs. This project was funded solely by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation. Register here
Court of Appeals' decision threatens access to courts for consumers

Georgia Watch and the National Consumer Law Center submitted a "friend-of-the-court" brief for consideration by the Supreme Court of Georgia in support of a challenge to the Georgia Court of Appeals' ruling in Bickerstaff v. SunTrust Bank. This decision poses a risk to Georgia consumers by departing from long-standing class action law in Georgia and diminishing Georgia citizens' access to the courts via class action suits.  Read more>
District Court hears Motion to Dismiss in CFPB v Hanna
On June 3, oral arguments were heard on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss in the case of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") v. Frederick J. Hanna & Associates. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission reported that the number one complaint of Georgia consumers was around debt collection. The mass filing of debt collection lawsuits against consumers often results in default judgments that have serious consequences for consumers' credit and financial stability. According to the CFPB, from 2009 to 2013, Hanna & Associates filed more than 350,000 collection suits against Georgia consumers. Georgia Watch will continue to monitor this important case and report on the outcome. Read more>
Georgia Watch in the News