- The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously agreed this week to allow Florida Power & Light to recover $133 million associated with canal cleanup at the Turkey Point nuclear plant.
- FPL customer bills will rise $0.17 next year, but environmental cost recovery will drop to $1.59/month on average, the Sun Sentinel reports.
- Environmental and customer advocates had opposed the new recovery, arguing FPL shareholders should be on the hook for the utility's mistakes. FPL began work last year to fix a plume of salty water leaking from the Turkey Point nuclear plant into Biscayne Bay.
Over the objections of several groups, the Florida PSC said in a statement that it had determined Florida Power & Light "was prudent in its actions and expenditures for the historic operation of Turkey Point’s Cooling Canal Monitoring Plan."
However, regulators also disallowed recovery of the utility’s $1.5 million escrow payment required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, saying FPL did not meet its burden of proof that the funds would be used to benefit customers. The utility's 2017 and 2018 monitoring project costs and escrow payment removal are subject to true-up in future Environmental Cost Recovery Clause proceedings, however.
Last year, FPL reached an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to install a recovery system to capture hypersalinated groundwater and store it away from drinking sources. The utility also agreed to undertake restoration projects on the east side of the cooling canals, including restoring an area called Turtle Point to its previous natural state.
Sun Sentinel reports the Office of Public Counsel, Florida Industrial Power Users Group and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy all opposed the utility's cost recovery request. SACE Executive Director Stephen Smith told the newspaper "it is obscene that FPL will be rewarded for their screw-ups."
In the fall, the PSC denied a request by FPL to defer cost recovery for work done on new generation at the Turkey Point nuclear plant. The utility is considering developing two new units at the site capable of producing 2,200 MW. Developing new reactors could cost close to $20 billion, however.