Duke Energy Florida’s Crystal River nuclear power plant, located in Citrus County, was closed in 2013, a year after Duke Energy Florida acquired the plant’s operator, Progress Energy. A DIY steam generator replacement that Progress Energy attempted in 2009 went haywire, eventually rendering the entire plant unusable. Funds for the decommissioning, which is a process that takes decades, were already collected from customers between 1987 and 2001. Because utilities are allowed to keep a portion of the funds spent on a nuclear project, Duke gained approximately $100 million following upgrades to the Crystal River plant.
In 2006, the Florida Legislature passed the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause by an almost unanimous vote to encourage construction of new nuclear plants and upgrades to older nuclear facilities. On Tuesday, August 15th, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Duke Energy Florida’s request to recover $50 million related to its non-operational Crystal River nuclear power plant. The costs stem from an “uprate” project connected with the nuclear facility, which would have increased power from the plant. Although Duke Energy Florida formally filed for the recovery in May, the fixed amount was set as part of a 2013 settlement between Duke and the PSC.
The costs will take effect from January to December 2018. However, because consumers have already been paying off related costs in recent years, their overall bills are expected to decrease by 4 cents to $1.52 per 1,000 kilowatt hours which is the typical number of kilowatt hours used for an average home. Nevertheless, several other costs such as fuel costs, which Duke will return to the PSC to discuss over the next few months, could also affect customers’ bills. Customers will not have a solid idea of what their 2018 bills will be until about November.