Florida Citizens Organizing to Repeal Advanced Nuclear Cost Recovery
  • 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 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.

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  • 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!