Duke spokesman for closed nuke rate hikes touts new plant for Sabal Trail gas

Would you trust a salesman of failed nukes to sell you a gas plant? Is eminent domain on your property and your community “reasonable and prudent” so Duke can make another bad bet, this time on methane, after Citi GPS and Edison Electric Institute and former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff all warned them that solar is going to overtake every other power source within only a few years?

That’s the same Sterling Ivey who announced 2 August 2013 that Duke’s Levy County nuclear plants were cancelled ( Duke Energy Cancels $24.7B Florida Nuke Plant Project, ENRSoutheast, 08/02/2013, by Scott Judy). A few days later, Florida PSC approved a rate hike to pay for Duke’s forever-closed Crystal River nuclear plant. Dave Heller wrote for WTSP 5 August 2013, Florida regulators OK Duke Energy nuclear rate hike,

“These are reasonable and prudent costs as determined by the commission that the company has invested in both of these plants, Crystal River and Levy, and state law allows us the opportunity to recover those costs and that’s what we’re doing at this time,” said Duke Energy spokesman Sterling Ivey.

Duke Energy plans to charge the extra 89 cents for the broken Crystal River nuclear plant in Citrus County starting in January, 2014 through 2021. The total cost from that 89-cent rate hike would be $265 million over the seven years.

“The 89 cents that’s going on customer bills is related to expenses that we’ve had at the Crystal River nuclear plant to upgrade the megawatts at the plant, costs that have already been determined to be reasonable and prudent that we’re collecting on at this time,” said Ivey.

The company decided to cancel its Levy County nuclear plant project because the cost of natural gas has dropped so much, Ivey said, and also because of delays in getting a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Sure, it’s always somebody else’s fault when a utility makes a bad bet, and look who gets to cover those bad bets: the ratepayers.

And it’s not just Crystal River: Duke gets to charge extra for the canceled Levy County nukes, too, as Trent Kelly wrote for WCJB 18 October 2013, Duke Energy Customers to Pay More for Failed Nuclear Plant Projects,

Duke Energy officials say the charge was needed to avoid any wild fluctuations in customers’ future bills. “Without the agreement being approved, customers would have seen stark increases in their bills,” said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Duke Energy.

And now Sterling Ivey and Duke and FPL and Sabal Trail and Spectra want landowners and communities Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, to pay for their bad gas pipe bet up front with our property and hazards to our communities. Does that seem “reasonable and prudent” to you?

How about we get on with solar power, Citi GPS spelled out in October is going to rapidly overtake every other power source, just like previous FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff told us. As the electric utilities’ own think tank Edison Electric Institute warned them back January, distributed rooftop solar is already eating utilities’ free public service commission-approved rate hike lunch. Why should we let them keep eating extra at our expense when utilities could be getting on with solar for our benefit and their profit?