TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- Progress Energy has filed a request with state regulators to get extra funding for its nuclear plant construction, beginning next year.
If the public Service Commission grants the request, Progress Energy would be able to charge customers an estimated $5.09 per 1,000 kilowatt hour, to cover projections for its nuclear cost-recovery as it builds two plants at the Levy County complex.
Progress Energy has also informed the PSC that kit has pushed back the opening of one plant from the year 2021 to the year 2024, citing lower demand than previously projected.
Officials with the utility said some of the extra charge to customers would also go for upgrades to the Crystal River nuclear power plant, which is expected to be fully up to speed again by the year 2014.
Some members of the state legislature, however, have been doing a slow boil.
Florida state Senator Mike Fasano, a republican from New Port Richey, says the admission by Progress Energy that energy demand has decreased is tantamount to an admission that the plants aren't really needed.
"They admit that. The demand has gone down," he said, "... Which tells you they have no intention, nor any need, to build those nuclear power plants."
He says this is the point at which me members of the PSC "need to start asking questions."
Fasano has been an out-spoken opponent of the kind of rate increases Progress is seeking, a rate-increase known as a "pass-along."
Fasano has filed suit to overturn pass-alongs.
Progress officials, however, say the nuclear plants will be needed and say the costs are justified.