Florida Public Service Commission Serves the Public

January 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm 3 comments

Earlier this month, Florida Power and Light (FPL) was denied the $1.3 Billion rate increase they requested last fall, only getting $75 million. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously ruled against the huge increase, citing a struggling economy and questioning FPL’s exorbitant corporate spending habits and high profit margins.

This week, the Public Service Commission ruled once again to serve the public, rejecting Progress Energy’s $500 million rate increase. Both utilities were also forced to reduce their profit margins a couple percentage points.

With much of the rate increase slated to fund the utilities’ proposals to build a total of four new nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point plant and in Levy County, many citizens are taking action. Engaging the PSC since last October, thousands commented on Early Cost Recovery and nuclear. Their message is simple, “Don’t nuke Florida, we need solar in the Sunshine State!”

Public opposition is mounting against increasing rates and forced consumer investment into projects that are financially risky and literally create tons of radioactive waste. The AARP and numerous environmental groups have building grassroots  pressure on the Public Service Commission, urging them to protect the customers pocket and the environment.

FPL and Progress Energy now say that they will be “suspending” their risky nuclear plans . Because their main funding mechanism was Early Cost Recovery, the utilities claim they need the rate increases to attain capital investment from their consumers.  Check here for an interesting analysis of how the utilities are crying wolf about job losses when their true interest is protecting their sharholders.

Although the PSC decisions are good news, the utilities are still pursuing permitting for the new reactors, which is an extremely expensive process.  Utility executives are also claiming huge lay-offs will follow the decision to deny the rate increases. This is questionable, to say the least. Even Governor Crist, a supporter of nuclear who opposed the rate increases, thinks the utilities misleading the public about jobs. You can read his statement here.

Check out more info on FPL here, and get more of the backstory of the whole scene here.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates as the nuclear fiasco continues to unfold in Florida. Folks in communities and on campuses all over  Florida are taking on the nuclear industry in 2010!


Entry filed under: campus campaigns, climate justice, direct action, florida, nuclear, southeast, southern energy network.

Reacting to the CT Power Plant Explosion

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rmarg  |  January 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Pres. Obama appears to be increasing the loan garantees for new nuclear. Power uprates will be performed for St. Lucie and Trukey Point with the PSC blessing.

    Solar is a good peaking technology, but even the UAE (a country with a lot of sunshine) is building nuclear units. We are going to need nuclear even with its attendant controversy.

  • 2. Mandy Hancock  |  February 24, 2010 at 2:03 am

    I will have to disagree with your point that we need nuclear. I believe that efficiency, solar and wind can give us what we need. As for ‘base load’ energy, concentrated solar power with molten salt storage is one option.

    Really, it depends on the region what is best. For the Southeast, North Carolina and South Carolina produce enough offshore wind energy to meet 500% of their needs. Check out this article for more info: http://www.usowc.org/pdfs/PathForwardfinal.pdf

    Skip to page 28 for specifics to your concerns. Thanks!

    • 3. rmarg  |  February 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm

      The weblink did not provide specific capacity factors for offshore wind. The highest values I have seen is 40% which would still require energy storage. As for solar with molten salts, they can produce 24/7 at reduced capacity in the summer if they are in high insolation areas (e.g., Arizona and Nevada). They still require a lot of land and steel per unit capacity (yes more steel per unit capacity than a nuclear unit). Again, the UAE has ordered nuclear units even though they have a lot of sunshine.

      I am NOT saying we will not be using solar, wind, efficiency, etc., only that there will still be a gap that will require some nuclear. Nuclear is not as dangerous as NIRS, Greenpeace, etc claim. We need to look beyond the culture wars of the 60s/70s and see what can contribute to the low carbon portfolio.


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