Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Getting power customers some relief

Four state senators from Tampa Bay acknowledged Thursday the flaws in a 2006 state law that allows power companies to charge ratepayers in advance for nuclear plants that may never be built. They proposed some helpful changes but stopped short of calling for the law to repealed. Still, this is progress and signals the best chance yet that Duke Energy customers may get some needed relief.

Republican Sens. John Legg of Lutz, Jack Latvala of Clearwater, Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Wilton Simpson of New Port Richey have not yet submitted their legislation. They explained in broad terms their plan to change the law so that companies that fail to build a promised nuclear plant cannot profit from the process, or if they do, the profit margins are smaller. If a nuclear plant is not built, the electric company would return to ratepayers any profit, not actual construction costs. The 2006 law might expire two or three years from now, unless Duke Energy or Florida Power & Light, the two companies that have taken advantage of the law, have begun constructing a nuclear power plant.

That's a start to reforming a law that could cost Floridians' billions of dollars with still no guarantee their investments will pay off. Earlier this month, Duke Energy announced it would abandon the broken Crystal River nuclear plant, where ratepayers have already spent $500 million for upgrades. It also remains highly uncertain if Duke will build a proposed nuclear plant for Levy County, whose cost has jumped from $5 billion to $24 billion — and consumers are already on the hook for about $1.5 billion.

The senators said they don't want to repeal the law because they don't want to give up on nuclear power. But the future may already be here. Recent innovations in drilling for natural gas have dramatically lowered prices, and the utilities' inability to find private investors for nuclear plants — even as they shift significant costs onto consumers — speaks volumes about the economic viability of new large-scale nuclear plants.

The senators' plan isn't perfect, but it's a reasonable start. The rest of the Florida Legislature should get on board.

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Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18