Make us your home page
Instagram

CFO Atwater: refund advance fees if nuclear plants are not built

A state Cabinet member says utilities should refund any money they collected in advance from customers for proposed nuclear plants if the projects no longer make economic sense or will be abandoned.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said utilities should not be allowed to spend customers' money unchecked.

"Programs must be structured so companies are held accountable and are incentivized to mitigate financial losses," Atwater said through a spokeswoman. "If the projects are no longer viable or pursued, the dollars collected should be returned back to consumers."

Atwater's comments follow a report Sunday in the Tampa Bay Times that detailed how Progress Energy profits from the collection of a fee charged to customers to plan and develop a $22.4 billion nuclear power plant in Levy County — though it has not decided whether it will build the plant.

Atwater was one of the lawmakers who helped push the legislation when it was passed in 2006. But he says he did so only as a courtesy for another senator.

Former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Crystal River, said in a Times Opinion page piece this week that Atwater amended the energy bill to add the fee at the behest of the bill's sponsor, Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs. She wrote that many senators did not understand what the amendment did at the time.

"There was no mention of prepay costs recovery on the Senate floor," Argenziano stated. "Had there been, that might have alerted some senators of the major policy shift and that the fox was in the henhouse."

The Senate voted 39-0 for bill; the House approved it 119-1.

Current Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who is chairman of the energy committee, has refused to reconsider the legislation.

Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said he'd have to review the law before deciding whether he supports Atwater's suggestion that utility customers be reimbursed. He said part of the intent was to help diversify Florida's energy mix. But, he asked, "How do you do that? How do you pay for that.

"I think the whole issue needs to be studied and looked at," said Weatherford, who was not in the Legislature when the bill passed. "We can probably do that between now and next session."

CFO Atwater: refund advance fees if nuclear plants are not built 03/16/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]