Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Castor seeks more accountability from states using nuclear advance fee

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor wants more accountability in use of state laws that allow utilities to charge customers in advance for construction of new nuclear power plants.

Castor is filing legislation that would require states to conduct analyses that show use of the advance fee would be a "good business decision" and that detail how the projects will be financed.

Prompted by reports in the Tampa Bay Times about how Duke Energy customers will pay about $1.5 billion for the now cancelled Levy County nuclear project, Castor and state Rep. Dwight Dudley have been working to change Florida energy policy.

"Consumers should not be on the hook for bad business decisions," Castor said during a press conference Friday at Dudley's legislative office in St. Petersburg.

On the state level, Dudley is drafting legislation that would repeal use of the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause or what he calls a "utility tax" in Florida.

Dudley and Castor are also proposing legislation that would enable and support greater use of renewable energy such as solar power.

The lawmakers said they believe these changes would help save consumers money at a time when Tallahassee focuses more on building profits for utility companies. They said current laws incentivize utilities to build big box power plants for greater profits rather than use energy efficiency or renewable sources.

"The deck is stacked against consumers," Castor said. "We do not have a level playing filed here in Florida."

Last fall, Castor initiated a series of meetings with elected officials and a coalition of grass roots groups, pledging "to raise the profile" of the state's need to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

When it comes to solar energy, Florida already lags way behind sun-drenched California and Arizona, and also not-so-sunny states including New Jersey and Massachusetts. It will also likely soon trail neighboring Georgia. And Mississippi is instituting more aggressive energy efficiency policies and programs

Castor has said the state needs to focus on bringing more energy-efficient appliances to consumers and using smart technologies. One example, she said, is a Google program that allows consumers to monitor and control appliances and equipment over the Internet, even when they are away from home.

Castor said Florida needs to re-evaluate its energy policy so that more of these strategies can be implemented. Right now, she said, utilities make their money by building new power plants rather than finding ways to reduce energy consumption and take advantage of renewable energy to save customers money and reduce the carbon footprint.

Ivan Penn can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2332.

Comments
Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists are calling for Apple, Amazon, Google and other streaming companies to drop the National Rifle Association’s digital TV channel in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida school last week, putting the companies in the delicate position o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Published: 02/23/18
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Published: 02/23/18

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Published: 02/23/18
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Published: 02/23/18
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Published: 02/23/18
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Published: 02/23/18
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Published: 02/23/18
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18