By Brad Ashwell
After several years of public unrest and fierce debate, the fate of Florida Power & Light’s pursuit of two new nuclear reactors and controversial high-voltage transmission lines at the Turkey Point facility is squarely in the hands of Governor Rick Scott and the members of the Florida Cabinet at their next meeting on Tuesday. While much press attention has been given to the role that the Florida PSC has played in approving nuclear projects many are unaware that the Governor and Cabinet compose a little known body called The Power Plant Siting Board, which must approve these projects for them to move forward. Unfortunately, despite massive shows of public disapproval and consistent opposition from city officials in the areas that would be most directly impacted, Governor Scott’s staff is encouraging the Cabinet to approve FP&L’s proposal.
I won’t focus here on all of the concerns being expressed by local business
Another big problem with early cost recovery is that there’s no guarantee that consumers will get anything for what they pay for and let’s face it, the industry has a horrendous track record. Late last year, after collecting money from ratepayers for years, Duke energy finally pulled the plug on their Levy nuclear plant. They also argued for years that being allowed to collect money from customers far in advance would allow them to build the plants faster and more cheaply which would translate to cost savings for consumers. In the end, there was no cheap energy, customers still had to pay $1.5 billion dollars on a project that would never be built and Duke Energy was able to keep $150 million dollars in profits for essentially doing nothing for their customers.
Yet another issue with early cost recovery is the lack of transparency around how much consumers are paying towards these fees on their monthly bill. Consumers are essentially being kept in the dark and attempts to require more price disclosure are quickly squashed by the industry in the legislature.
Governor Scott and Cabinet members review the Turkey Point reactors and the proposed transmission lines at the upcoming cabinet meeting. We urge them to consider the fact that FP&L has not even been certified to move forward with the project by the NRC and may never receive that approval.
Brad Ashwell is the Legislative Director for the Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection. FLACP.ORG