Will Weatherford criticizes Florida's nuclear cost recovery law

09/10/13 Naveen Sultan
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State House Speaker Will Weatherford was in the hot seat Tuesday at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in Pinellas County. The speaker said that Florida made a mistake when allowing power companies including Duke Energy to take money from their customers to pay for nuclear plants that were never built.

“We all know now 7or 8 years later that it was not a wise decision. It was not something that worked out. We’re not going to build nuclear plants because they are three times more expensive than what they thought they were going to be, natural gas is a third of the cost of what we thought it was going to be and so the world has changed and for me are they complicit and are are at fault? Absolutely. Progress Energy is at fault now Duke Energy there's no question about that but to say they are 100% at fault and not recognize that Florida knowingly went into this partnership with a lot of assumptions that didn’t work out. That’s a reality we have to own up to as well. And so I don’t think making them go back and making them write a big check for every dollar they ever collected on cost recovery is number one feasible or the right thing to do when the state of Florida made that decision based on what we knew at the time. It was a mistake we should all own in I didn’t vote for it but I think we we have to live with the consequences. I believe there are things we can do but writing a check for half a billion dollars to the rate payers just honestly is not feasible. And it won’t happen”

Weatherford also answered members’ questions on healthcare, education and the Stand Your Ground Law.

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I met Speaker Weatherford for the first time yesterday at Suncoast Tiger Bay, and was impressed. He was courteously measured and admitted he'd "made some mistakes" but honored his friendship with Sen. Pres. Don Gaetz as he answered fully. Also unusual for a politician, he hung around for an extended after-talk with people. He participated actively with them; very unusual for an elected official. Usually, they are whisked away, leaving people disappointed. I could be wrong, but I sensed an authenticity in his presentation and warm handshake. Speaker Weatherford seemed a statesman, despite his 32 years of age.