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House rejects attempts to repeal nuke fees

The Florida House rejected attempts to repeal a controversial state law that allows the state’s utility companies to charge customers for nuclear power plant development in advance of construction and passed a plan to limit how much they could collect.

The Republican led House modified a Senate plan, SB 1472, to add new hurdles to the unpopular nuclear cost recovery act but voted down  amendments that would have required the companies to disclose how much of the monthly bill was going into the planning costs among other amendments. They also rejected an amendment to put the so-called "nuclear cost recovery act" to a voter referendu, an amendment that would ban any development on a nuclear plant until there is a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste, and an amendment to repeal the proposal.

The final bill is not expected to make any sweeping change that will effect the average customer bills in the short run. Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy currently charge customers monthly to pay for their planning and development costs for two projected nuclear power plants.

Since the act took effect in 2006, FPL customers have paid $500 million to pay for improvements on the company's existing nuclear plants and plans to build a new reaction at Turkey Point. Progress Energy, which has since been acquired by Duke Energy, has charged customers more than $1 billion. Both companies were able to keep 10.5 percent of the money recovered under the statute in profits. 

A final vote on the bill is expected later this week.