Florida justices hearing nuclear plant cost appeal

Florida's two largest electric utlities charging customers for nuclear plants

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A challenge to Florida's law letting utilities charge consumers for planned nuclear power plants even if they never get built is being heard by the state Supreme Court.

Oral argument was set for Thursday.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is appealing the state Public Service Commission's decision to let Florida's two largest electric utilities charge their customers $282 million in planning and construction expenses for upgrading existing nuclear plants or building new ones.

The Legislature passed the law allowing the nuclear cost recovery charges in 2006. Expenses for other kinds of power plants cannot be passed on until they go into service.

The commission approved the full $196 million sought by Florida Power & Light Co., but cut Progress Energy Florida's $141 million request to about $55 million.

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