Florida Utility Customers Deserve Better

Guest Blog | August 13, 2012 | Press Releases

Tallahassee, Fla. — Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) welcomes Duke Energy President Jim Rogers to Florida for his first visit with the Florida Public Service Commission today at 1:00 P.M. and views the new leadership change at Duke Energy as a unique opportunity to refocus Progress Energy Florida’s (PEF) energy portfolio to a less costly and less risky energy mix for the benefit of its customers.

Duke Energy and its Board inherit significant resource questions facing PEF. Its recent history has been marred by the debacle of the failed Crystal River Unit 3 (CR3) repair; continued spending of Florida ratepayer dollars on speculative nuclear reactors in Levy County; and anemic energy efficiency programs that cost too much, but deliver too little. The mismanagement at PEF has earned it the lowest customer satisfaction rate of any major electric utility in the South.

“We welcome new leadership to address these and other issues at Progress Energy Florida,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director for SACE. “Florida customers deserve better, and we look forward to working with Duke Energy’s leadership to get energy efficiency programs back on track, provide more clean energy options for customers in Florida, and stop the financial hemorrhage of misplaced support for high risk nuclear power.”

The potential costs of PEF’s resource choices could be staggering for Florida ratepayers. For instance, repairs to the damaged CR3 nuclear reactor, which PEF damaged during a routine steam generator replacement, are expected to cost up to $1.3 billion, but are “trending upwards.” Likewise, the cost to customers of the proposed Levy nuclear reactors has skyrocketed to more than $22.5 billion and is having an escalating customer bill impact which will reach over $50 per month in 2020 and beyond. While PEF recently entered into a settlement agreement that mitigates that impact and removes the “regulatory uncertainty” over the reactors, the underlying resource problems remain unresolved.

During this time of crisis within the Company, PEF could be effectively ramping-up energy efficiency programs to help mitigate customers’ bills and provide greater stability to the utility’s energy system. Duke Energy has the resources and the track record to reshape and improve PEF’s energy efficiency performance.

For more information about Progress Energy Florida’s mismanagement, please see SACE’s background memo, “Progress Energy Florida: The Case for Mismanagement” here. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast www.cleanenergy.org