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Weatherford opens door to revising nuclear cost recovery law

House Speaker Will Weatherford told reporters on Wednesday that he is open to revising the the 2006 law that allowed Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy of Florida to collect money for nuclear power plants before building them.

Speaker to reporters at the annual pre-session gathering for reporters and editors hosted by the Associated Press, Weatherford said he will leave it up to lawmakers on the various committe to decide whether to alter or repeal the law that has allowed the two utility companies to collect nearly $2 billion from customers with no guarantees they will build the plants.

"It’s an interesting discussion,'' said Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "Obviously, no one can be happy with the way we find ourselves today with regard to nuclear cost recovery. There have been some unexpected things that took place. The cost of natural gas has plummeted -- not a bad thing. We had the situation in Japan. We also had an economic downturn. So what looked like a great idea in 2006, in hindsight, may not have been. 

“We can’t go back and rewrite time and history but I know there are people interested in this area and if the committee decides to take it up we certainly will be supportive of their efforts.” 

Reps. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Michelle Rehwinkel Vasinlina have proposed bills over the last several legislative session that would repeal the law but, amid intense pressure from FPL and Progress Energy, the measures have never received a hearing. 

The 2006 law is now being challenged by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an alliance of clean energy advocates who argue that the measure amounts to Florida taxpayers socializing the risk but privatizing the profits.