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Democrats’ amendments repealing nuclear fees voted down

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The Florida House on Tuesday voted down bill amendments that would have repealed or scaled back a 2006 state law that allows utilities to charge in advance for nuclear power plants that may never be built. HB 7109 is a bill that establishes term limits for Public Service Commission members and provides for Duke Energy Florida to issue bonds to cover the $1.4 billion cost for shutting down its Crystal River nuclear plant. Democrats offered 16 amendments but half were…

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Reforms for utilities a “baby step”

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Bills that supporters say would tighten the rules governing the panel that sets Florida’s electric rates are moving toward passage in the state Legislature, but some say they’re not enough to end what they call the panel’s too-cozy relationship with big power companies. Several bills filed early in the legislative session regarding the Public Service Commission have been combined into a grab-bag of proposals that stem from controversies over utilities service, several involving Duke Energy. The proposal would set a…

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Duke boycott efforts quiet with PolyPack owner’s environmental assurance

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Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Center for Biological Diversity is pulling out of the city’s second Earth Day Celebration in South Straub Park on April 18. According to the Times, that Arizona-based nonprofit requested a refund of its $75 fee because leaders learned the event’s main sponsor is Duke Energy. Duke has been plagued by negative press stemming from grassroots protests condemning the energy giant for being a leader in dirty energy. The Center for Biological…

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Tales from Tallahassee: Dwight Dudley is a speck of blue in a sea of red

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It’s not easy being a Democrat in the Florida Legislature. Most major initiatives get blocked by a sea of red and bills typically opposed by those few lawmakers on the left breeze right by despite vehement protest. That’s where state Rep. Dwight Dudley’s at right now a little more than half way through this year’s legislative session. To him, the biggest issue facing Democrats in the House this year, and even Republicans in the Senate, is Medicaid expansion and Low…

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Good move, Duke Energy: Company seeks to use bonds to offset nuclear power plant costs

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With much ink spilled over Duke Energy charging customers for future nuclear power plants, it is encouraging to see the utility, supported by state Sen. Jack Latvala, on the right side of the issue. In a new proposal, the Clearwater Republican and Duke are working together to lift some of the financial burden from consumers when shutting down nuclear power plants. The measure, now in front of the Senate Utility Committee, seeks to give the state Public Service Commission authority…

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2015 Awake the State rallies take on a quieter tone

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Progressive activists across the state are calling on the Florida Legislature to take up five key issues voted on by supporters of the group Progress Florida. During a rally at Spa Beach near the downtown St. Pete Pier, about 20 members of the community announced their agenda that includes raising the minimum wage, expanding health care and Medicaid, ensuring access to clean water and energy and reforming campaign finance laws. “We want to put the progressive agenda in the forefront,” said…

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Duke Energy says it will drop nuclear fee from Florida bills

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One of Florida’s largest power companies says it will go ahead and drop a nuclear power fee now charged to customers. State regulators last October ordered Duke Energy Florida to refund $54 million it collected from ratepayers to pay for a failed nuclear plant in Levy County. Duke on Monday filed a request that asks state regulators to approve a proposal to drop an average $3.45 a month charge from bills. A spokesman for Duke said the charge could be…

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