FL Senator Warns NC Against Nuclear Rate Hikes

{March 22, 2011}

As a staunch advocate for consumers here in Florida, I believe that protecting our citizens’ pocket books, particularly in these trying economic times, is of the utmost importance. We’ve learned the hard way in Florida that allowing utilities to recover the costs of a new power plant before the plant is even placed in service is unfair to consumers and bad public policy.

Press Release: Radio Ads Challenge Rate Hikes

{March 7, 2011}

Consumers Against Rate Hikes today began airing radio ads in opposition to a plan by utility companies to raise electric rates to pay for nuclear power plants.

Letter to Governor Perdue from NC Interfaith Power & Light

{March 7, 2011}

Dear Governor Purdue, As you struggle with a huge deficit, you will be considering requests by Duke Energy and Progress Energy to use taxpayer money to help prepay for up to four new nuclear power plants. This request will amount to a substantial annual utility rate increase that bypasses public review by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. It will also be an annual rate hike with no guarantee that the power plants would ever be constructed.

N.C. Council of Churches Statement on Annual Utility Rate Hikes

{March 1, 2011}

The N.C. Council of Churches opposes legislation that would give Duke Energy and Progress Energy automatic authority to raise rates to pay for new base-load power plants without going through proper annual public review by the N.C. Utilities Commission. The Council supports legislation creating a strong Energy Efficiency Standard and plan for increasing energy efficiency in North Carolina 25% by 2025.

Pollsters’ summary

{February 23, 2011}

In a February 2011 statewide poll, North Carolina voters emphatically reject the electric industry’s desire to change state law to allow financing and construction of new nuclear power plants with reduced oversight by the public and Utilities Commission.

NC voters reject rate hike bill, poll says

{February 23, 2011}

A new poll shows that 70% of voters across North Carolina firmly reject a proposal to make it easier for Duke Energy and Progress Energy to build new nuclear power plants. The bipartisan poll of likely voters also found that large numbers say their households would suffer financial hardship if the proposal passes the NC Legislature, which would cause electricity rates to begin rising years before new plants could be completed.

Groups unite to oppose annual rate hikes

{February 3, 2011}

More than a dozen groups are coming together in response to comments the CEOs of both utilities made in a recent News & Observer article. The Jan. 16th story said the CEOs have agreed to work together to change North Carolina law to allow power companies to raise consumer rates while severely restricting state and public scrutiny. The change would cause electricity rates to greatly increase in North Carolina, the groups said.

Consumers Against Rate Hikes print ad, Feb. 2011

{February 2, 2011}

Duke Energy and Progress Energy have proposed to construct four nuclear reactors in the Carolinas. Current estimates for each of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are in the $10 billion range and are expected to continue to rise. Financial institutions have refused to finance these reactors because of the high risks of cost escalation and project cancellation.

Target: North Carolina Electricity Customers, an issue brief

{February 1, 2011}

NC Utilities Seek a Blank Check and Annual Rate Hikes – as the U.S. Nuclear Revival Fails. Trying to build new nuclear plants would cause power bills to soar in North Carolina – and could cost the average family $4,000 even if projects could stay on budget.

Op Ed by Rev. Lynice Williams and Jim Warren, The News & Observer

{February 1, 2011}

Recent news of a merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy sets the stage for North Carolina to become home to the nation’s largest electric utility. They say the merger will save customers money by eliminating redundancy, but what appears to be a key driver behind the merger – building two nuclear reactors in South Carolina – would cost customers much more. The key questions are, who would pay for those multi-billion dollar projects during construction? And should the utilities or North Carolina families and businesses take the major risks of cost overruns and project failure?

Nuclear lobbying turns to states

{January 24, 2010}

States enacting legislation or regulations in support of nuclear power
Florida : Statute 366.93 (2007): Cost recovery for the siting, design, liensing, and construction of nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle power plants (2007)
Georgia : Nuclear Energy Financing Act (2009): Allows utility to recover from its customers the costs of financing associated with the construction of a nuclear generating plant
Idaho : Allows Public Utility Commission to establish binding ratemaking treatments when costs of a new electric generation facility are included in rates and allows for nontraditional cost recovery mechanisms
Kansas : Senate Bill 586 (2008) Utilities may recover “prudent expenditures” for a new nuclear generating facility
Louisiana: Public Service Commission Docket No. R-29712 (2007): Approved the incentive cost recovery rule for nuclear power generation
Michigan : House Bill 5524 (2008): Expands power of Michigan Public Service Commission, which can issue certificate of necessity allowing utilities to recover costs through rates
Mississippi : Senate Bill 2793 (2008): Authorizes the public service commission to utilize an alternative method of cost recovery on certain base load generation
North Carolina : Senate Bill 3 (2007): Act allows for ongoing review of construction costs, which may be recovered in rates
Ohio : Senate Bill 221 (2008): Twenty-five percent of electricity must be produced by alternative sources by 2025. Advanced energy projects include “advance nuclear energy production, Generation III technology or significant improvement to existing facilities.”
South Carolina : Base Load Review Act (2007): Gives the state’s public service commission the power to determine reasonable costs of a project and to change customer electricity rates on an annual basis during the construction of nuclear plants
Texas : House Bill 1386 (2007): Relates to regulation of the decommissioning costs of the first six nuclear-powered commercial electric generating units under construction by 2015.
Utah : House Bill 430 (2009): Renewable Energy Development Act classifies nuclear power as a renewable and provides tax incentives
Virginia : House Bill 3068/Senate Bill 1416 (2007): Allowed capped rate period to expire in 2008 rather than 2010, and it gave the State Corporation Commission the authority to begin to set and review electric rates
Wisconsin : Act 7 (2005): A public utility that proposes to apply for a certificate for the construction of an electric generating facility can apply to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for an order specifying in advance the rate-making principles that will be applied to the public utility’s recovery of capital costs