by Ron Hurtibise
MIAMI 2/24/16 — Florida’s two largest utility companies are the target of a lawsuit claiming a state law that authorized collection of $2 billion for construction of nuclear power facilities is unconstitutional.
The suit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Hagens Berman, which describes itself as a “national class action and complex litigation law firm.”
The suit accuses Florida Power & Light, headquartered in Juno, and Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp., of overcharging its ratepayers.
Relying on a 2006 state law that authorized the Nuclear Cost Recovery System, the utilities turned 6.4 million ratepayers into “involuntary investors in nuclear projects, charges them interest on their own money and never returns their ‘investment,” the suit contends. “When the projects are abandoned, the utilities keep the money and collect even more.”
Read the whole article: Sun Sentinel
2/23/16 — A law firm filed a class action lawsuit against utilities Duke Energy Florida (NYSE: DUK) and Florida Power & Light (FPL) alleging unlawful charges to fund nuclear power plant construction.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges Duke and FPL of overcharging customers $2 billion since 2008 through electricity price hikes to fund the costs to build nuclear power plants in the state, though some of the projects have been abandoned. The suit seeks relief for customers of both utilities, including reimbursement from the companies for costs passed on to consumers to fund the projects, a declaration binding on the utilities that the state’s Nuclear Cost Recovery System and all nuclear cost recovery orders issued under it are unconstitutional and void, and an order ordering defendants from further charges.
Read the lawsuit here.
Read the whole article: Power Engineering
by Curt Anderson
MIAMI (AP) 2/23/16— A federal lawsuit has been filed challenging $2 billion in fees charged by Florida’s two largest electric utilities for nuclear plant projects, some of which were never completed.
The proposed class-action lawsuit filed Monday seeks to stop the fees and recover unspecified damages for about 6.4 million customers of Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy. The fees were imposed on ratepayers under a law passed in 2006 by the Legislature and implemented by the state Public Service Commission.
The suit contends that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against other out-of-state energy producers and that it is pre-empted by federal energy and nuclear laws. It also claims Florida customers are improperly charged for nuclear projects that can be subject to huge cost overruns or that are never built.
Read the whole article: CNBC
by Robert Trigaux
TAMPA 2/23/16 — A class action lawsuit was filed against Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light alleging the monopoly electricity providers force millions of Florida customers to pay unlawful charges in connection with their electricity rates to fund the companies’ nuclear power plant projects, some of which have been abandoned.
The suit was brought Monday by the law firm Hagens Berman in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. It accuses Duke Energy Florida and FPL of overcharging through unconstitutional price hikes that increase customers’ electricity bills in order to fund nuclear construction costs.
The issue ranks among the most controversial in recent Florida history, forcing customers of monopoly utilities to take on the financial risk of building nuclear power plants, projects prone to extreme cost overruns. Such utility projects historically have been financed by banks and Wall Street, with the risks borne by Duke and FPL shareholders, not by ratepayers.
Read the whole article: Tampa Bay Times