Progress Energy urged to withhold rate increase

12/08/08 Mitch E. Perry
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State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, today called on Progress Energy to suspend rate increases that will drive power bills up 25 percent starting in January.

Fasano, along with Republican Rep. Peter Nehr of Tarpon Springs, wrote asking the power company to withdraw plans to begin charging customers more to cover the cost of building a nuclear power plant.

The state Legislature passed a law two years go that allows state utilities to begin charging customers for nuclear power plants in advance of their construction. That’s a law Fasano admits today he wishes he didn’t vote for.

WMNF contacted Progress Energy for comment. They did not make a spokesperson available, but did issue a press release.

In it, Suzanne Grant of corporate communications for Progress writes: "At Progress Energy Florida, we understand that any rate increase has an impact on our customers, especially during these difficult economic times."

But she goes on to write, "postponing the pre-construction costs until the plant is operational will increase the overall cost of the project and ultimately make electricity even more expensive for our customers for two reasons. First, it will cost us more to borrow money to complete the project. Second, there will be a sharp increase in rates when the plant comes on line."

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