Fraud Florida style: nuclear plant shutdowns, smart meters and “secret” settlements

Robert Trigaux, Tampa Bay Times business columnist, in his August 1st column titled, “Thank you, Tallahassee, for making us pay so much for nothing” wrote, “Hey, elected clowns! Thanks for passing a law forcing Duke Energy customers to pay up to $1.5 billion in higher rates for a long proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County that will not be built. And no, Florida customers, you’re not getting any of that money back.”

“With the Levy project canceled, and the broken Crystal River plant now permanently closed, Duke appears to be exiting the nuclear power business in Florida. At least for the foreseeable future,” notes Trigaux.

Trigaux stated, “Too bad we can’t shut down Florida legislators just as easily. Especially those lawmakers who conjured up the 2006 law letting power companies charge advance fees to ratepayers for high-priced and, yes, even ill-considered nuclear power projects.” In May the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission held an open house to discuss the closing of the Crystal River nuclear power plant owned by Duke Power.

Thomas Saporito stated in a press release, “Duke Power has apparently decided NOT to restart the failed Crystal River nuclear plant. The decision comes after billions of dollars in losses and many failed attempts to repair the troubled nuclear plant after a hole was cut in the containment building about 3-years ago to replace failed steam generators. Perhaps this is a warning signal for the entire nuclear industry about the hazards of operating nuclear reactors well-beyond the end of their 40-year safety-design basis?”

Another issue facing Floridians is the installation of “smart meters” on homes and business by Florida Power & Light (FPL).  Florida Supreme Court Case SC 13-144 against FPL and the Florida Public Service Commission concerning smart meters has been filed and is scheduled for oral arguments. The lawsuit states:

“FPL customers are now placed in a position by order of the Commission – to pay for smart meters which cannot operate as alleged by FPL. Therefore, FPL’s claims of cost savings for its customers are patently false and not true. Notably, it is not realistic to believe that FPL customers would be willing to expense the cost of replacing their existing appliances with smart appliances in these dire economic times.

To the extent that there appears to be fraud on the part of FPL related to cost recovery for smart meters from customers of FPL, the undersigned requests that: (1) the Commission authorize and otherwise order an investigation of FPL related to smart meters and associated cost recovery; (2) the Office of Inspector General for the Commission conduct an investigation of FPL and/or the Commission – related to smart meters and associated cost recovery as authorized by the Commission; and (3) the Commission convene a public hearing to create a record for which the Commission can rely and consider to Order FPL to refund all smart meter associated costs back to the customers.”

A third lawsuit was filed Attorney Jack L. McRay – representing the AARP – who filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court asking the Court to remand the decision by the Florida Public Service Commission (Commission) to approval a “secret” settlement agreement between Florida Power & Light (FPL) and three other parties related to FPL’s March 2012 petition filed with the Commission to raise electric rates for some 4.1 million customers.

Thomas Saporito in a press release stated, “The Florida Public Service Commission has reopened Docket No. 120015-EI in the Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) rate case to consider a motion filed by citizen Intervenor Thomas Saporito to reconsider its Order granting FPL exclusive authority to “self-regulate” and increase electric rates at will over the next several years.”

According to Saporito, “The citizens of Florida can no longer have any trust or confidence in the Commission to act as their advocate in establishing fair and reasonable electric rates. The Commission’s decision to allow FPL to ‘self-regulate’ puts the Commission’s integrity in the toilet”

Depending on the Commission’s decision on the Saporito motion – the case could be headed for review by the Florida Supreme Court. Saporito is also considering filing with other federal agencies and possibly filing a civil action against the Commission for violating his “due-process” rights in this matter.

It appears Florida’s power companies are in a meltdown mode.


What FPL’s President Thinks About Nukes, Renewables

Private Citizen Complains to the Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court asked to review FPL rate hike

Utilities to Address ‘Significant Weaknesses’ in Cybersecurity