Senate votes to alter nuke plant pre-construction law

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The Senate, without comment, unanimously backed a measure (SB 1472) on Friday that would alter a 2006 law that has allowed power companies in Florida to charge pre-construction costs for nuclear power plants, reports the News Service of Florida.

The proposal would require the utilities to repay customers the advanced charges if the company decides to halt a future project. Currently, the energy companies can charge pre-construction fees with no process to repay customers if the plants are never constructed. Those charges remain in place. The Senate bill doesn’t go as far as the House version (HB 7167), which remains on the calendar awaiting a hearing on the floor. The House measure allows charges currently being imposed to continue, but prohibits the utilities from seeking the advance costs for any plant that has yet to receive a determination of need from the Florida Public Service Commission.

Florida Power & Light Co. and Progress Energy Florida have opposed the proposals, which have come from Tampa Bay-area legislators. FPL, which has proposed a project in Miami-Dade County, points to the pre-construction fee for helping complete upgrades to existing nuclear plants. Progress Energy Florida continues to proceed with plans to build new reactors in Levy County.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.