New Projects, Reactors

Law to recover new nuclear costs upheld in Florida

The Florida Supreme Court upheld a nuclear tax statute that allows units of both Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) to collect money from customers to pay in advance for nuclear power plant projects that may or may not come to fruition.

The court rejected arguments from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an environmental group that filed the claim against the 2006 law, that the charges were improper and that the law was an improper delegation of power to the Florida Public Service Commission, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The PSC approved plans for Progress Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light to charge customers $282 million in November 2011 for nuclear project costs from 2011 through 2012, the article said.

In related news, the state House of Representatives passed an amended version May 1 of the Senate’s bill that attempts to scale back the law, according to The Hastings Group. Senate Bill 1472, as passed by the House, removes two provisions: a subsection that allows for cost recovery if a company ends plans to build a new nuclear plant, and a previously-amended provision that would not have allowed shareholder profit for a company that moves forward with plans after July 1, 2013, but later cancels those plans. That bill now heads back to the Senate for final voting.

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