Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer

Ivan Penn

A native of Washington, D.C., Ivan Penn joined the Times in July 2006 after more than 12 years with the Baltimore Sun. Penn covers utilities, energy and consumer issues as part of the Times' business team. He is married and has three children.

Phone: (727) 892-2332

Email: ipenn@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Consumers_Edge

  1. Piece of errant metal in steam generator delays restart of St. Lucie nuclear plant

    Energy

    A piece of metal, perhaps part of a tool, damaged a steam generator at the St. Lucie 2 nuclear power plant, forcing Florida Power & Light to delay restarting the reactor.

    Joey Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said it is believed that an errant part of a tool from past work damaged part of a steam generator tube that had been plugged due to excessive wear. Workers are examining the steam generator to ensure there is no further damage, he said....

    State officials say the downtime of the St. Lucie 2 nuclear power plant will be extended from one month to eight weeks.
  2. Helping others keeps workers at Mercury Medical

    Business

    It's almost more common to hear someone say they've worked at Mercury Medical for decades than to be called a newbie.

    Doug Scrivner joined the Clearwater medical equipment manufacturer 47 years ago.

    Barbara Palmisano signed up 33 years ago, about the same time as current CEO Stanley Tangalakis.

    "My philosophy is I'm responsible for you," Tangalakis said. "I have to give you the opportunity to grow. I have to give you the tools. But then I have to hold you accountable."...

    CEO Stanley Tangalakis joined Mercury Medical in 1980 and bought it two years later, turning it into a globally recognized medical device manufacturer.
  3. The perks of working at a Times Top 100 workplace

    Business

    American Integrity Insurance Group

    Take in the sounds of Margaritaville in the Island Paradise break room at American Integrity Insurance Group.

    The company plays Jimmy Buffett all day, every day, to help employees "chill out."

    "We try to encourage employees to eat in the break room rather than your desk ... to really take the time to get your sanity back," said Amanda Richter, American Integrity's marketing leader....

  4. Westinghouse CEO is key witness in suit against Duke

    Energy

    Westinghouse Electric CEO Daniel L. Roderick might be the company's best weapon in its lawsuit against Duke Energy over the cancellation of the Levy County nuclear project.

    Why? Roderick used to work for Progress Energy Florida, now part of Duke, when the two companies crafted the Levy contract.

    His job: vice president of nuclear projects and construction.

    "I am responsible for the management and oversight of all large, capital nuclear projects" for Progress Energy, Roderick stated in 2008 in written testimony to the Florida Public Service Commission. "These include … the development, siting, engineering, and construction of two new nuclear generating facilities at the company's Levy County site."...

    Daniel L. Roderick leads the  firm suing for $512 million.
  5. Duke Energy's customers face a potential $500 million bill

    Energy

    Here's the latest fallout from the state's eight-year-old nuclear advance fee: Duke Energy customers may have to pay another half billion dollars for the Levy County nuclear plant.

    You remember Levy. That's the failed project for which customers already have to pay $1.5 billion. The one that will never be built.

    Now comes news that Westinghouse Electric Co. is suing Duke for canceling the Levy project. The Pennsylvania company is demanding $512 million for engineering and design work....

  6. FPL says nuclear plant tubes pass inspection

    Energy

    Damage to tubes in steam generators at the St. Lucie Unit 2 nuclear plant was less than expected, Florida Power & Light said after conducting its most recent inspection.

    Michael Waldron, an FPL spokesman, said 69 tubes in the two units were removed from service or "plugged" as a precaution, but an inspection last month showed no safety or integrity issues. The two generators together hold 18,000 tubes, which have the dual purpose of creating steam and helping to cool the reactor....

  7. Solar proponents want Duke Energy to replace coal with cleaner options

    Energy

    ST. PETERSBURG — A crowd of more than 100 delivered petitions with 5,500 signatures to Duke Energy on Wednesday, calling on the utility to use solar and other clean energies in place of coal.

    With placards reading "Florida Needs Clean Energy" and chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, dirty coal has got to go," the crowd called on the nation's largest utility to help bolster solar in the Sunshine State....

    “Clean energy now!” participants chant Wednesday at the Sierra Club’s Sunshine State Clean Energy Coalition rally in St. Petersburg across the street from Duke Energy’s Florida headquarters. Another rally is planned for April 10 in Tallahassee.
  8. After Duke Energy seeks $54 million, Westinghouse responds with $512 million lawsuit

    Energy

    As widely expected, Westinghouse Electric Co. filed a $512 million lawsuit against Duke Energy over the cancellation of the Levy County nuclear project.

    In its complaint, Westinghouse states that Duke benefited from design and engineering work for which the utility refuses to pay.

    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania late Monday, came after Duke sued Westinghouse last week over the contract for the Levy nuclear plant – a proposed $24.7 billion project the utility canceled last August....

  9. Federal regulators reject request to extend nuke plant outage

    Energy

    Federal regulators rejected a request Tuesday to keep unit two at the St. Lucie nuclear offline until after the public reviews the latest inspection reports of the reactor's damaged steam generator tubes.

    There was no discussion during the brief voice vote by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The commission will continue to collect information through the end of the month to determine whether there will be public hearings about the tube wear issue....

  10. Duke Energy sues over cost of Levy County nuclear project

    Energy

    Westinghouse Electric Co. wants Duke Energy to pony up almost $500 million related to the canceled Levy County nuclear project.

    Duke denies it owes Westinghouse any money and has now sued for a refund of $54 million for work it says was never performed.

    The case, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C., is the latest dispute over a project that was once estimated to cost Duke's 1.7 million customers $24.7 billion....

  11. Why are Tampa Bay gas prices climbing?

    Energy

    The average price of gasoline in the Tampa Bay area climbed to $3.60 a gallon this week, up from $3.40 a month ago and the $3.30 range in January. Area prices are 3 cents below the statewide average but 4 cents above the national average, according to AAA.

    What is driving prices up?

    In Florida, seasonal residents are still around, and it's prime time for tourists, too. Baseball fans were also driving around the state catching spring training games. All that adds to demand, which can drive up prices. At the same time, refiners are taking plants off-line for regular maintenance, reducing the supply. A shortage of ethanol, which typically makes up 10 percent of gasoline blends, also likely contributed to the price increases....

  12. Petitions call for Duke Energy to cut use of coal

    Energy

    More than two dozen community groups plan to deliver over 5,000 signatures on petitions to Duke Energy Wednesday that call on the utility to cut its use of coal and to invest in clean energy.

    The coalition of environmental, faith, public health, business and labor organizations are scheduled to gather at noon in St. Petersburg's Williams Park before delivering the petitions. The group, dubbed the Sunshine State Clean Energy Coalition, says it is concerned about Duke's reliance on fossil fuels to supply electricity to its 1.7 million Florida customers....

  13. Judge awards Duke Energy $21 million in nuclear fuel storage case

    Energy

    A federal judge has awarded $21 million in damages to Duke Energy after the U.S. Department of Energy broke its agreement to store spent fuel from the Crystal River nuclear facility and other plants.

    The damages for the shuttered Crystal River plant were part of a $104 million award Duke won related to claims on four of its nuclear facilities — three in the Carolinas and its lone reactor in Florida....

  14. Southern Alliance seeks public review before St. Lucie nuclear plant returns to service

    Energy

    The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy filed a petition Monday to block a St. Lucie nuclear reactor from returning to service until the public vets unusual wear inside the plant's steam generators.

    In a complaint to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Southern Alliance accused the NRC of allowing unit two of the St. Lucie nuclear complex to operate outside of its license.

    The Southern Alliance argued that plant owner Florida Power & Light omitted components without formal NRC approval, contributing to premature steam generator tube wear....

  15. Paying in advance for nothing at all

    Perspective

    In 2006, when volatile natural gas prices stoked fears of steep increases in electric bills, it seemed sensible, perhaps even necessary, to charge customers in advance to help build new nuclear projects.

    A lot has changed in eight years. Florida's gamble in creating a so-called "advance fee" for nuclear projects will cost consumers billions — for nothing.

    The reality of those losses will play prominently in debate about the state's energy policies as the 2014 legislative session begins....