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Report: Political investment by energy companies helps them buy into legis agenda

Update: Here's the report

To understand the influence of Florida’s largest electric companies in Tallahassee, look no further than your monthly bill.

You won’t see a line item for the “nuclear cost recovery fee” that Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy collect each month for future construction of new nuclear power plants. That’s because legislators last year voted down an amendment that would have required them to disclose the fee to customers, something they knew the two companies didn’t want to do.

Lawmakers allowed utilities to collect the fee in 2006, and when the companies tamped down their plans to build new facilities and used the money for other needs, such as upgrading existing nuclear plants, legislators kept the fee in place despite complaints from consumer advocates.

The legislative journey of the nuclear cost recovery fee is but one example of how Florida’s power companies control the legislative agenda in Tallahassee, according to a new report by Integrity Florida, a non-profit Tallahassee-based research and watchdog group. They say millions of dollars in campaign contributions and an army of lobbyists help keep corporate interests ahead of the public interest, and are calling on lawmakers to make the power companies more transparent and more accountable. 

“Our state’s monopoly power corporations have demonstrated how politically influential investments can be profitable,’’ said Dan Krassner, president of Integrity Florida and one of the authors of the report, Power Play: Political Influence of Florida’s Top Energy Corporations. “The volume of spending on campaigns and lobbying give this industry an outsized influence.”

The report was paid for with a grant from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), an advocacy group that wants Florida to adopt more electricity options. An advanced copy of the report, to be released Monday, was made available to the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times.

The utilities vigorously reject the allegations, calling SACE an “anti-utility organization.” Story here. 

Comments

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Can't take anymore

Looks like the ever helpful boys in the Legislature have once again removed the burden of government regulation from those free market loving utility companies. What could be more simple? If you don't like what they are charging you for electricity they say you are free to make your own. What a country!

FLMom

Socialize the debt, privatize the profit. It's the Republican mantra. I wonder how long Floridians will continue to blindly vote for the party that consistently picks their pocket so that corporations can get ever increasing tax breaks and walk away from their responsibility.

D

shut the hell up welfare mom, no one wants to hear your complaining about how crappy your life is. go get a husband to listen to your nagging so the rest of us don't you loser.

Anti-Tallahassee

The Republican Party of Florida - RPOF - really stands for Rip People Off Floriduh.
It is the question of the decade: When will Floridians wake up and send these thieves home?

Roger in Miami Gardens

Exactly, FLMom.

This is why we need to bring political balance back to our state's legislature. We have got to get out and vote.

Well connected RNC operative

D,

So well said; insightful, intelligent and to the point. You are my hero! We need you up here in D.C.

Bill Thompson

The citizens of our great state do not want their confiscated money going towards bailing out favorite corporations in the form of corporate welfare.

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