Green Party Welcomes Citizens’ Lawsuit Against Nuclear Cost Recovery Charges, Urges Floridians to Sign Petition Protesting Unconstitutional Rate Hikes

On Monday, February 8 members of the Citizens for Ratepayers Rights filed a lawsuit against Progress Energy Florida, claiming  the statutes allowing Progress Energy to collect costs related to the construction of a nuclear power plant from the utility’s customers in advance are unconstitutional under the Florida State Constitution.

Last October, the Green Party of Florida (GPF) issued a media release  denouncing the decision by the Public Service Commission granting Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light rate increases in order to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called “nuclear cost recovery” funds, calling it a “license to steal” for the private utility giants.

Steve Wilkie

Steve Wilkie, Green Party candidate for Congress in District 2, said about the lawsuit,

Members of the environmental movement have long understood that the true costs of nuclear energy are not competitive unless supported by publicly funded subsidies. It’s high time that citizens are taking this opportunity to oppose these “cost-plus” rate scams.

According to Nicholas Ruiz III, Green Party candidate for Congress in District 24, this class action is the only remedy available at this point:

Nuclear cost recovery is the kind of policy we get when we allow politicians who fail to represent the will of the citizens to legislate public policy,” said Dr. Ruiz.  “When our lawmakers write laws that serve only narrow corporate interests, the only recourse for citizens is in the courts, and in the ballot box.

Progress Energy customers are unwilling victims of a scheme that forces them to finance a risky and outrageously expensive project that even the more adventurous Wall Street investors won’t touch. In effect, it grants taxing authority to private utility companies, but the ratepayers have no voice in either the amount they must pay or the use of the funds collected.

The Green Party urges all Florida residents to sign the Citizens for Ratepayers Rights petition and support their legal action challenging the unjust law. We call upon the Florida Legislature to repeal the statutes that allow private utilities to collect construction costs for new nuclear power plants from their ratepayers in advance.

PLEASE SEE ATTACHED PRESS RELEASE BY CITIZENS FOR RATEPAYERS RIGHTS.

For more information:

Green Party candidates:

Recommended sites for more information on nuclear power and the alternatives:

Press Releases:

Levy County Nuclear Plant – documents

News articles

March 11, 2008 — Price triples for Progress Energy’s proposed nuclear plant in Levy
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/article414393.ece

July 16, 2008 — Progress Energy nuclear plant is okayed
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/article701322.ece

May 1, 2009 — Progress Energy nuclear plant delayed by at least 20 months
blogs.tampabay.com/…/progress-energy-nuclear-plant-delayed-by-at-least-20-months.html

May 2, 2009 — Progress Energy seeks rate hike despite nuclear plant delay
http://blogs.tampabay.com/energy/2009/05/progress-energy-nuclear-plant-delayed-by-at-least-20-months.html

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The following Press Release was distributed by Citizens for Ratepayers Rights on February 9. It is included here for informational purposes. The Green Party is not a party in the lawsuit, and all inquiries about the legal action should be directed to Suzan Franks at (352) 527-4123.

PRESS RELEASE

CITIZENS SUE PROGRESS ENERGY

BUSHNELL, FLORIDA  — Individuals from the Florida group of Citizens for Ratepayers Rights filed a lawsuit in Bushnell, Sumter County, Florida on Monday, February 8, 2010 against Progress Energy Florida.

The lawsuit seeks class action status to declare as unconstitutional under the Florida State Constitution the laws that were passed that allow Progress Energy to collect in advance all costs related to the construction of its nuclear power plant approved to be built in Levy County  The complaint was filed by central Florida Attorneys Frank B. Arenas, Esq., Coleman, and Alberto E. Lugo-Janer, Esq. of Windermere. and disgorge all payments collected thus far – about $200 million and adding each month.

“We tried everything to get someone to listen – the Governor, House, Senate, PSC, Attorney General – anyone that would help stop the madness of allowing $17 Billion to be collected by Progress with no requirement that any service be provided nor the nuclear plant even be built at all,” said Suzan Franks from Hernando, founder of the non-profit group.  “We hope the courts will see this for what it is – a privilege and lending of the state’s taxing power to a private corporation which is prohibited under the State Constitution.”

Mrs. Franks and others formed the group last October seeking to get others to be heard by the state representatives.  “No one would listen; now Progress Energy will have to at least hear us in court” stated Mrs. Franks.  She can be reached at (352) 527-4123 for further information or view the website www.cfrpr.com to sign their petition.

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