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AARP seeks repeal of nuclear 'advance fee' as a priority in 2014

Published Dec. 9, 2013

In its December newsletter, the AARP pledged that one of its 2014 legislative goals is the repeal of the state law that allows utilities to charge customers in advance for new nuclear projects.

AARP said it is backing a small but growing coalition of lawmakers who believe the law is an unfair tax on consumers who may get nothing from the charges.

The Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause or so-called "advance fee" has been a growing point of contention since Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light began using the statute for proposed nuclear plants that may never get built.

In August, Duke canceled its proposed project in Levy County after running up $1.5 billion in costs that customers still must pay. In addition, the utility spent hundreds of millions as part of the failed upgrade of the Crystal River nuclear plant that permanently closed in February.

Duke still could restart the Levy project, though unlikely anytime in the near future.

Meanwhile FPL continues to pursue two new reactors at its Turkey Point power station in South Florida with use of the advance fee. FPL has not determined whether it will actually build the new reactors, but it did successfully use the advance fee to upgrade its existing reactors.