Just as Florida’s education system was blowing up last week, so too were hopes for a radioactive nuclear future of “clean” energy in the state. Which would be sort of hippie-awesome, except Florida citizens are still going to be stuck paying for it all. On Thursday, Duke Energy – recent usurper of Progress Energy; company most likely to bankrupt Citrus County by not paying its share of property taxes on its busted existing nuclear plant – announced officially that it wasn’t going to fix its Crystal River plant, nor was it going to move forward with the Levy County plant it was already charging its customers for.
Wait, how’s that? Oh, back in 2006 state legislators made it completely legal for your semi-monopolizing utility company to use your rates as its credit card when said company had even a vague notion that it might like to erect a new nuke plant. Recent attempts to rein that law in a little so it didn’t look like such a scam have failed or been watered down, ultimately leaving the big energy lobby in control. So, even though Duke was intending to spend $25 billion on a new plant in Levy County (while likely fixing the cracks in the cement at the Crystal River plant), it didn’t really have to go through with it even though it was charging residents in advance. Now, with the announcement that the whole thing was a sort of fiscal mirage, the public will allegedly still have to pay up to $1.5 billion toward the dead project (hey, it could have been $4 billion!), while its stakeholders handily keep $150 million.
In other words: It may not have been your terrible idea, but you’ll be paying for it. Boom!