Florida Citizens Organizing to Repeal Advanced Nuclear Cost Recovery
  • Problems “tax” FPL’s St. Lucie Unit 2 reactor, consumers

    Posted on March 18th, 2014 Florida Citizens No comments

    moneyreactorsA flurry of recent media reports have focused on Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) St. Lucie Unit 2 nuclear reactor near Ft. Pierce, Florida. There is evidence that the replacement and modification of the steam generators is causing excessive wear of the steam tubes in unit 2. The steam generator replacement and subsequent uprate were paid for through Florida’s nuclear tax, making it more than a legitimate safety concern. Customers have reportedly sunk over $1 billion into the uprate project of both of St. Lucie’s reactors so far, and if the wear continues, it could mean more expensive repairs to Unit 2 — potentially on the customers’ dime.

    The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is taking the utility to task, requesting a transparent investigation and inspection before the utility can restart the reactors, which are currently down for a scheduled refueling outage. The organization submitted a petition to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to block the restart until the issue is fully vetted.

    For additional information:

  • 2013 Sour Orange Award Runner Up – Duke Energy Florida

    Posted on January 14th, 2014 Florida Citizens No comments
    Image from the Tampa Bay Times

    Image from the Tampa Bay Times

    The Tampa Bay Times has identified Duke Energy as the runner-up for the 2013 Sour Orange Award, which was given to the corporation that was most egregious in the gouging of Florida’s consumers. In the end, the award went to a flood insurance scheme that has increased rates for many homeowners, but the Times’ business columnist, Robert Trigaux, said it was a hard choice.

    “Many of Duke’s actions came at the direct expense of its own (and increasingly unhappy) base of Florida customers. In February, Duke decided to shutter its one and only nuclear power plant, broken since 2009, in Crystal River north of Tampa. This past week, Duke said it will take the next 60 years and spend $1.2 billion just to decommission the plant, leaving decades of spent radioactive fuel stored on site and under guard.

     

    In August, Duke finally canceled plans first unveiled more than six years earlier to build a nuclear power plant in Levy County.

     

    Residents of much of Tampa Bay and west-central Florida were forced to fund some of these ill-fated Duke projects. Thanks to a terribly misguided 2006 law passed in Tallahassee, Duke has charged its own customers higher rates for years to pay for construction of a nuclear power plant in Florida that would not have even begun operating until the mid 2020s. Duke also doesn’t need to return any money to its customers even now that its Levy plant is canceled.

     

    The price tag for Levy and Crystal River for Florida customers to receive not 1 new kilowatt of electricity? About $3 billion.”

    While Duke’s nuclear dealings in Florida, which they inherited from former Progress Energy Florida, are certainly worthy of this distinction, it is also noteworthy that Florida Power and Light (FPL) has also been bilking customers for new nuclear projects that likely have the same fate as Duke’s. They’ve collected over $366 million for the proposed two new Turkey Point reactors near Miami that are not likely to ever be built, especially in today’s reality, where the nuclear renaissance has been declared “stone cold dead.” We’re not sure if the Times has considered ever giving the award to a piece of legislation, but if they did, Florida’s “nuclear tax,” which made all these bad debacles possible would win, hands down.

  • Florida PSC hearings on nuclear tax last one day

    Posted on August 6th, 2013 Florida Citizens No comments

    nuclear money lobbyOn Monday the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) held just one day of hearings regarding nuclear cost recovery fund requests by Florida Power and Light (FPL) and the recent decision by Duke Energy Florida to effectively cancel the plagued Levy nuclear project. It all made for an interesting day. In the end, Duke Energy got what it wanted, in the form of $108 million per year for the botched and now canceled Crystal River and Levy reactor projects, or an average of $5.62 per month per customer.

    So far, the PSC has approved over $1.3 billion in early cost recovery, including for new reactor projects that, as we’ve now seen with Duke, have a high risk of becoming infeasible almost overnight. But that isn’t stopping FPL from requesting millions of dollars more in advance from their customers for their proposed two new reactors at Turkey Point. Check out this Miami Herald article for more on FPL’s numbers game and to take part in a poll on whether or not FPL should reconsider its plans at Turkey Point.

    See below on how to voice your concerns over these shenanigans. The PSC will vote on various aspects of this continuing nuclear boondoggle in October.

    Submit public comment:

    Please reference Docket #130009 in all correspondence:

    • Toll Free Consumer Assistance Line: 1-800-342-3552
    • Toll Free Fax: 1-800-511-0809

    Contact the PSC:

    Contact the Commissioners directly for maximum impact:

  • Nuclear industry flailing nationwide

    Posted on July 2nd, 2013 Florida Citizens No comments

     

    The “renaissance” that never was. This paper is from 2008, just 2 years after the push for nuclear began.

    Over the last year, it has become increasingly clear that the nuclear ‘renaissance’ we’ve heard so much about is a dud. In fact, in just the last few months, the United States decreased from 104 operating reactors to 100. In Florida, Duke Energy announced it would shutter the Crystal River reactor. Shortly after, Florida ratepayers celebrated a small victory with the passage of Senate Bill 1472 that has now been signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. This bill falls short of the much needed repeal but at least adds some modest consumer protections to the nuclear tax legislation in which the big power companies can bill their customers in advance for costs associated with new nuclear generation.

    June was a tough month for the nuclear industry, as several projects suffered setbacks. First, MidAmerican Energy announced plans to drop their pursuit of new nuclear in Iowa. Shortly after, California Edison announced they will shutdown their troubled San Onofre reactors. Then, Exelon canceled plans to increase energy production at reactors in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Meanwhile, down south, Tennessee Valley Authority slowed work at their Bellefonte reactor in Alabama and laid off 75% of the project’s workers.

    That is a lot to happen in one month. But if we look back over the last year, this downward trend for the nuclear industry may have arguably began a while ago. Certainly the devastating Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011 continues to plague the industry worldwide. In August 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied licensing for Calvert Cliffs in Maryland for being foreign owned, despite a recent $7.5 billion loan guarantee offered by the Department of Energy.

    Shortly after that, in October, Dominion announced plans to shutter the Kewaunee reactor in Wisconsin because it was no longer economically feasible. In March of this year a tragic construction accident at the Entergy’s Arkansas One reactor killed one worker and injured several others. In North Carolina, Duke Energy announced it would suspend plans to build new reactors at the existing Shearon Harris nuclear plant, and the operating reactor was taken offline for a cracked reactor sensor that went undetected for a year. The shutdown, which lasted only a couple of weeks, is expected to cost $10-20 million. In Michigan, Entergy’s Palisades reactor was shutdown for the sixth time since 2012 for radioactive leaks.

    Is the Florida Public Service Commission aware of any of this?

    It will be interesting to see how SB1472 will impact the current nuclear cost recovery docket before the Public Service Commission (PSC), in which Florida Power and Light (FPL) and Duke Energy are asking for nearly $300 million. If approved, this would bring the total to over $1.5 billion. So far, the PSC has not denied any funds requested, in spite of neither utility actually committing to build the proposed new reactors at Turkey Point and in Levy County. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the upcoming docket this fall.

    Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 2.36.48 PM

  • Florida consumers still on the hook for nuclear tax

    Posted on May 16th, 2013 Florida Citizens No comments

    Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 2.36.48 PMNow that Senate Bill 1472 has passed through the Florida legislature, it’s up to Governor Scott to make sure it becomes law. Considering he will be seeking reelection, the expectation is that he won’t veto the bill. The legislation seems like a step in the right direction, but still relies heavily on the dysfunctional Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to serve the interests of the public, not just the interests of the big power companies. Unfortunately an amendment that would’ve added a line item on consumers’ electric bills to keep them informed on how much they were paying for these troubled projects was rejected almost unanimously by House Republicans.

    Meanwhile, Duke Energy has suspended its proposed nuclear expansion at it’s Shearon Harris plant in North Carolina and several other projects are in trouble. The “nuclear renaissance” is flailing, yet Floridians are still paying. In fact, Duke Energy just submitted its most recent request for $174.6 million in nuclear cost recovery funds for next year, which would add $5.62 to the average consumers’ bill, up from $4.73 this year. This news came on the heels of the Florida Supreme Court decision against plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the law. The Florida Supreme Court says it is the Legislature’s business, yet the Legislature is leaving it up to the PSC, which, by all evidence, is beholden to the utilities. In the end, it’s Florida’s families, seniors and businesses that are at the greatest risk from these faulty policies.

    A recent Tampa Bay Times article studies the cost of Duke Energy’s proposed Levy county reactors in comparison to a natural gas plant. The conclusion? The nuclear reactors would cost $1.3 – 3.8 billion more to build, operate and fuel than an equivalent natural gas plant, but Duke Energy stands to make ten times more on the Levy nuclear project. So, not only does it cost more to build and operate the nuclear reactors, but Duke will make and extra $3.6 billion. Seems like a no-brainer from their profit-driven business model perspective. Especially when you toss in the rate increases they enjoy from Florida’s “nuclear tax” – it’s an apparent win-win situation for Duke!

    While this blog has focused on the specifics as they relate to Duke Energy, Florida Power and Light (FPL) is up to the same tricks. They are asking for $28 million this year, which will equal about an additional 30 cents on the average monthly bill. This has gone down since last year, since FPL has completed their uprate projects at St. Lucie and Turkey Point. At least FPL has delivered something for the money they have collected. Despite that, it might be time for consumers to start contacting their electric utility to express their frustrations. It is important they know their customers are not happy with being conscripted into shareholder responsibilities, with no real guarantees or benefits other than two possible nuclear reactors a decade or more into the distance, if they are ever even completed.

    Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates between blogs.

     

  • Florida seniors oppose nuclear tax across party lines

    Posted on April 23rd, 2013 Florida Citizens No comments

    voters8to1plainTallahassee is awash in the debate regarding the controversial, anti-consumer “advanced nuclear cost recovery law.” Did you know that, according to a recent poll by the Florida AARP, a majority of seniors agreed that raising electric rates for new nuclear projects that may never be completed is bad business? Seniors are getting the worst end of this deal, with no guarantees that they will reap any benefits from their investments.

    When asked to consider the supporting and opposing reasons they heard regarding the law, most Floridians age 50 and older oppose it, with 44 percent saying they strongly oppose it and just 5 percent indicating strong support for the law. A clear 8 to 1 margin.

    Political party affiliation did not influence opposition to the anti-consumer legislation, with strong opposition expressed by 46% of Democrats, 43% of Republicans, and 41% of Independents. When given reasons to support the law, seniors had little change in their attitudes. However, more than half opposed the law “a lot more” after being given reasons to oppose. Overall, 44% of respondents strongly oppose this unfair practice. It is clear that seniors understand the ill-effects of this legislation.

    This week will be an important time in determining the fate of what has become to be known as Florida’s “nuclear tax,” with discussions and perhaps even votes happening on a Senate bill. Please stay tuned for updates from Tallahassee later this week. In the meantime, please take a moment to take action here courtesy of the folks at SACE.

  • House Bill 4003: Repeal Nuclear Cost Recovery!

    Posted on March 27th, 2013 Florida Citizens No comments

    Peter Bradford gives testimony to FL House Energy & Utilities Sub Committee

    An ongoing, bi-partisan effort to repeal nuclear cost recovery in Florida has manifested this year in House Bill 4003, sponsored by Representatives Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D) and Mike Fasano (R). Speaker of the House Will Weatherford (R) said earlier this year that he would make sure this issue was finally vetted in the legislature. That’s good news for consumers in Florida.

    The Senate has also expressed interest in the issue, and has responded with an amendment bill that barely grazes the surface in protecting consumers. They also hosted a very pro-nuclear discussion last week, where the industry and the utilities extolled upon the virtues of nuclear, while the public and anyone with contrary opinions were given a mere 20 minutes to state their case. Fortunately, the House hosted a similar meeting today that included testimony from Peter Bradford, who has a long history as both a former state utility regulator and former commissioner with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and gives a clear argument as to the flaws of nuclear cost recovery, within a historical context.

    Watch testimony HERE to learn more about this issue. Join the discussion! Write your editor, write a blog, share this video. Follow us on Facebook.

    Visit our TAKE ACTION page for ways to help stop Florida’s unfair nuclear tax!

     

  • New Stop Nuclear Tax Website!

    Posted on December 12th, 2011 Florida Citizens No comments

    As you can see, we’ve been busy building a new website. The old site, www.regressenergy.com will be active for a few more months, but only to redirect to our new improved site. We hope this new site will provide a platform for people to get all of the information they need on nuclear cost recovery in Florida. Please let us know if there are ways we can improve upon that mission. If you have any questions, please email us at stopnucleartaxflorida@gmail.com.

    While we end yet another year of fighting against nuclear cost recovery in Florida, we aim to start 2012 with renewed vigor and enthusiasm to make this the year to repeal. Now more than ever, we need to push for sensible energy policy in Florida. That means focusing our effort to increase our efficiency goals and getting a strong renewable portfolio standard. After all, we are  the Sunshine State!

    One way we will accomplish this goal will be to increase the amount of communication between organizations that are working on this effort. Thankfully, there are quite a number of us out there! Let’s use this blog as one of our venues to get people talking.