State House candidate Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, is hammering Republican opponent Frank Farkas about a 2006 vote in which lawmakers allowed Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to charge customers for the costs of nuclear-power plants that will not be built for at least another decade — if ever, reports the News Service of Florida.
Farkas, a St. Petersburg Republican was in the House in 2006 and, after getting term-limited, is seeking to return to Tallahassee this year in House District 68. Farkas was one of 119 House members who voted for a wide-ranging energy bill that allowed utilities to collect preconstruction costs for nuclear projects.
Since then, FPL and Progress customers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for such costs as engineering, planning and permitting. FPL has proposed building two reactors in Miami-Dade County, while Progress would build two in Levy County.
In a news release this week, Dudley vowed to try to repeal the nuclear-cost provision if he is elected — an idea that likely would draw heavy opposition from the utilities.
“We’ve had enough of seeing our power bills, phone bills and insurance bills skyrocket,” Dudley said in the release. “Take a look at your power bill. Hidden in there is over a billion dollars we’re paying for power plants experts say may never be built.”
A recent Tampa Bay Times editorial said Farkas has indicated regret over his vote on the bill.