SACE Media Statement from Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Smith, Expressing Disappointment with the FL PSC’s Approval of 2012 Nuclear Cost Recovery Requests by Progress Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light:
In spite of another year of significant cost increases and scheduling delays, it was business-as-usual at the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today with the Commission once again siding with the big power companies over the interests of Florida customers. The PSC approved nearly $300 million in advanced cost recovery charges for new nuclear power generation projects. The PSC accepted all of the PSC staff recommendations issued earlier this month—an unfortunate trend of rubber-stamping that we have seen year after year in spite of major obstacles and pitfalls that have made new reactor proposals in Florida less and less feasible.
Progress Energy Florida (PEF), which recently merged with Duke Energy, was approved to recover over $142 million and Florida Power and Light (FPL) for over $150 million from their customers for new nuclear generation via a “nuclear tax,” including significant costs for four proposed, yet-to-be-licensed, nuclear reactors that neither utility has even committed to actually build and whose estimated combined costs exceed $40 billion.
The Commission granted all the utilities requests on top of the more than $1 billion in cost recovery that was already approved over the past several years. This is an extremely unfortunate situation for utility customers in Florida who are being forced to pay this “nuclear tax” up front for electricity that will very likely never be produced from proposed new reactors.
Today’s vote again underscores the unfairness of the nuclear cost recovery statute that was passed by the Florida legislature back in 2006. Because the Florida State Legislature, the Governor and the PSC have failed to protect Florida’s families and businesses from this “nuclear tax” scheme, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy challenged the statute’s constitutionality before the Florida Supreme Court. Oral argument occurred in early October and we await the Court’s decision. We remain hopeful that the Court will rule in favor of better protections for Florida’s utility ratepayers. # # # 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. For more information, go to: www.cleanenergy.org