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Florida PSC begins hearing on nuclear plant costs via Bloomberg Business Week

By BILL KACZOR

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.

A Florida Power & Light Co. lawyer told state regulators Wednesday that questions raised by consumer advocates could undermine Florida’s push to expand the use of nuclear energy.

He made the comment at the beginning of a lengthy hearing on whether customers should be required to keep paying for reactor costs before reactors are built or upgraded.

The Public Service Commission’s hearing on nuclear construction recovery charges for Florida’s two largest power companies is expected to continue into next week with a decision set for late October.

Consumer advocates are questioning expenses being piled up by Florida Power & Light, which is a unit of NextEra Energy Inc., and Progress Energy Florida.

The state’s Office of Public Counsel and a group of industrial power users are asking whether some of those projects will ever be completed, although consumers are paying for them now. They cite factors such as waning public support after an earthquake and tsunami crippled a nuclear plant in Japan and dropping prices that have made natural gas a less-expensive alternative.

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