Progress asks for nuke fee hike

Pushes back Levy date to 2024


Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.

OCALA — Progress Energy announced Tuesday that it is hiking the estimated cost of its proposed Levy County nuclear plant and pushing the plant's completion date back to 2024.

Progress Energy also said it plans to ask Florida regulators to increase customers' bills to upgrade Progress' damaged Crystal River nuclear plant.

Progress said in a press release that the new cost of the plant could be as high as $24 billion. The previous estimate was about $2 billion less. The plant was originally slated to go online in 2016, but that deadline continues to get pushed back.

Marion County has about 60,000 Progress customers.

As part of Progress' proposal to the Florida Public Service Commission, customers' current monthly nuclear-related costs would increase from $2.86 per 1,000 kilowatt hours to $5.09 beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

The commission, which regulates the state's utilities, will review the request and decide later this year whether or not to approve it.

That $5.09 charge would be broken down as follows, according to a Progress Energy press release:

As previously arranged, the Levy County nuclear project monthly bill would increase from $2.67 per 1,000 kWh to $3.45 and remain at that level until 2017. That billing level was part of a settlement agreement between Progress and consumer advocate groups earlier this year.

The example of 1,000 kWh per month is used because that reflects a typical residential user.

Progress also asks that the amount its customers pay for the utility's Crystal River upgrades to increase electric power be increased from 19 cents per 1,000-kWh to $1.64 in 2013.

The Crystal River plant has been down since 2009, when a crack was found in its nuclear containment building and repair attempts subsequently failed. Progress said in its press release it hopes to have that facility operational again by 2014.

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