Just weeks after one Democrat in Tallahassee put forward an idea to eliminate certain surcharges utilities can levy for projects like failed nuclear power plants, a Pasco County representative has come up with one of her own.
State Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, has joined forces with Clearwater Republican Chris Latvala filing H.B. 67 to repeal what is known as the nuclear cost recovery charge.
Her bill, filed on Monday, would set an expiration date for such charges from companies like Duke Energy Corp., on July 1. Any money collected but not spent by the utility by that time would have to be returned to ratepayers within the next year.
The expiration date would apply to any cost recovery charges for “siting, design, licensing, construction of nuclear gasification combined cycle power plants.”
It follows the efforts of state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, who filed H.B. 4001 just before Thanksgiving, that would repeal the nuclear cost recovery statute outright, which put Duke in line to collect more than $3.2 billion from customers through a $3.45 monthly surcharge.
That charge was designed to pay for the now-closed Crystal River nuclear facility, as well as a cancelled nuclear power plant in Levy County. Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s bill is similar to the one offered by Murphy and Latvala, except hers would use a simple repeal of the state statute that allows utilities to collect the monthly recovery fee from its customers.
Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s bill would essentially expire the surcharge at the same time as Murphy’s. However, it does not have a mechanism in place that would force utilities like Duke to refund any unspent money. Rehwinkel Vasilinda also is missing a Republican sponsor for her bill, which might help it gain traction in a state House controlled by the GOP.