TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson issued the following statement commending Duke Energy Florida for stepping back from the consumer-unfriendly practice of utility advanced-cost recovery as part of a settlement agreement now under consideration by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).

“Today the Florida Public Service Commission took up a proposed settlement agreement for Duke Energy Florida that, on the whole, shows potential for Florida consumers,” Johnson said. “It’s high time that utility companies began to step back from the longstanding practice of utility advanced-cost recovery, which saddles consumers with billions of dollars for utilities projects that may never turn on a light in your home, and that in some cases may never be built.”

As part of a settlement agreement previously negotiated by Duke, environmental groups, government agencies and large business and industrial customers, Duke had agreed not to continue charging customers for the proposed Levy County nuclear site that it had once planned to build.

It was the second time in two weeks that Florida customers scored a win on the advanced-cost recovery issue.  Last week, the PSC rejected an initial request from Florida Power & Light Inc. to defer recovery of costs associated with a proposed nuclear power plant.

“The plethora of abandoned nuclear plants in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida has burdened ratepayers. Such plants would have never been constructed had such laws easing cost recovery not been enacted in these states,” Johnson said.  “Ratepayers in South Carolina are now facing for paying for a $9-billion hole in the ground after a nuclear power plant was scrapped.  Duke customers paid $800 million for a planned nuclear site in Levy County that has now been abandoned and will never yield a single benefit for them.”

AARP believes that utility companies, which function as state-sanctioned monopolies, and their shareholders should bear the burden of construction of power plants, rather than ratepayers. AARP Florida will fight to eliminate state laws allowing utility companies to charge ratepayers in advanced for plants that may never be built.

“Enough is enough,” Johnson said.  “Advanced-cost recovery burdens all consumers, and particularly older consumers, who pay today to construct plants that may be built many years from now – if ever.”

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP’s millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, our bilingual multimedia platform for Hispanic members; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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