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Florida Public Counsel moves to contain charges from broken Crystal River nuke plant

1:03 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - The Crystal River nuclear power plant has been a financial disaster for customers of Progress-Duke Energy, according to Florida Public Counsel J.R. Kelly. He represents ratepayers before the Public Service Commission.

Kelly has filed a petition with the PSC challenging Progress Energy's settlement with its insurer because he thinks the amount is too low.

The Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited has agreed to pay out around $845 million for the broken power plant. But Kelly thinks that's at least $500 million short and he doesn't want ratepayers to get stuck paying additional charges.

"We believe the settlement amount is just only a token of what the insurance company should pay up because whatever the insurance company pays up, it's for the benefit of the ratepayers. Under the policy, the way we read it, is that the proceeds for the plant should be at least another $500 million in the ratepayers' benefit."

Kelly is also trying to block Progress-Duke Energy from charging customers for about $110 million of improvements at Crystal River that never went into service before the plant was shut down.

The company is currently developing a decommissioning plan for the plant. That process can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but Progress has a fund to cover many of those expenses.

The decommissioning fund started collecting charges from customers' bills when the plant went online more than 30 years ago and currently contains $629 million. That fund no longer collects money from customers.

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