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Consumers Paying For Non-Existent Nuclear Plant

May 29th, 2013 by flanews

A bill waiting to be signed by the governor will drastically change how two of Florida’s largest power companies bill customers for a nuclear power plant that doesn’t even exist.

Until the bill is signed into law, power companies and the customer advocates will have to continue to fix the kinks with a former law on the books.

When Duke Energy or Florida Power and Light customers get a bill, they are being charged for a nuclear power plants that doesn’t even exist. A 7-year-old law has allowed major utility companies to collect more than a billion for the non-existent facilities. “We have to implement the law. We’re not the lawmakers; we’re just the implementers of the law,” said Florida Public Service Commission staff, Mark Futrell.

Wednesday morning the Florida Public Service Commission staff met with Duke and F-P & L to talk about how much customers should be forced to pay.

“New nuclear units in Turkey Point, we anticipate over the life of those units, would save 78-billion dollars in fuel costs,” said Peter Robbins, FPL.

After public outrage, state lawmakers tweaked the Nuclear Cost Recovery law this spring, limiting how long utilities can collect the monthly fee. Duke and F-P-L opposed the bill.

“If the bill lawmakers passed is signed by the governor, it’s likely to change how both sides proceed with the case…however, neither side is sure of the changes,” Matt Horn reported.

The Office of the Public Counsel, which represents customers, says it will present consumer testimony as the meetings and hearing proceed. “I think customers generally really don’t like paying for projects that don’t come into fruition,” said Office of Public Counsel’s Charles Rehwinkel.

The legislation on its way to the Governor requires more review by the Public Service Commission, but still does not require the fees to be refunded if new nuclear plants are never built.

It’s expected the customer testimony will be filed in the second part of June.

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