Domiciled in Florida and your electric bills already too high?
Guess what? Your bills are being hiked yet again, this time it is to pay for four more nuclear reactors with their dangerous nuclear waste on your Florida coasts and in your back yard.
Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:27pm EDT
HOUSTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Florida electric regulators on Monday approved requests from the state’s two largest utilities to charge customers more than $280 million next year for work to develop four proposed nuclear reactors and to expand output at two existing plants.
Florida is one of a handful of U.S. states in which laws were passed in the mid 2000s to revive the stagnant nuclear industry by offering utilities incentives to reduce the risk of building costly new reactors which take years to site, license and construct.
The laws typically allow utilities to charge customers for certain project-related costs during the development and construction years in order to reduce long-term project financing costs.
The Florida Public Service Commission approved NextEra Energy’s Florida Power & Light’s full request to recover slightly more than $196 million from customers next year.
Commissioners also agreed to allow Progress Energy’s Florida utility to recover nearly $86 million next year for costs associated with a plan to build two new 2,200-MW reactors in Levy County, Florida.
FP&L’s amount includes costs related to the proposed 2,200-megawatt Turkey Point Units 6 and 7 and costs to add 450 MW of capacity at existing reactors at FP&L’s Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear stations.
That’s up from only about $31 million approved for recovery in 2011 after a protracted dispute between the commission and the state’s largest utility which has more than 4 million customers.
An FP&L spokesman said 90 percent of the funds requested for 2012 will pay for work to increase output at FP&L’s existing reactors. About 29 MW is already in service with work to add the remaining 400 MW set for completion in 2013.
Commercial operation of the new Turkey Point reactors, expected to cost between $12 billion and $18 billion, has been delayed about four years until 2022 and 2023 after FP&L said growth in power consumption slowed in the state during the economic recession.
Progress Energy Florida initially sought $140.9 million, but the commission reduced that amount by more than $50 million under a 2009 plan deferring some early Levy costs due to the state’s worsening economy.
The proposed Levy County reactors, expected to cost about $20 billion, were originally set to begin operating in the 2016-17 time frame, but Progress delayed the timeline until at least 2020.
“We’re pleased the commission confirmed our plan to make state-of-the-art nuclear power available to our customers in the state of Florida,” Progress spokeswoman Suzanne Grant said.
Progress Energy’s 1.7 million Florida customers will pay about $2.93 per month for the first 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity for early Levy costs, down from more than $5 a month this year.
FPL customers will pay about $2.20 per month for the first 1,000 kwh used.
The Florida Legislature passed a law in 2006 to encourage development of new nuclear plants and the PSC adopted a rule to evaluate project-related costs each year. The nuclear-related charges were added to customer bills beginning in 2009.