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FPL Seeks Base Rate Hike For Nuke Upgrades

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) -- Florida Power & Light this month asked state regulators to approve a $113 million increase in base electric rates to pay the bulk of the costs for recent upgrades at the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear-power plants.

Erik Hofmeyer, a company spokesman, said the state Public Service Commission is expected to take up the proposal Dec. 3, with any increases likely to take effect in January.

FPL earlier included the nuclear-upgrade increases in announcing projected customer bill changes for 2014.

Bills include several types of charges that can change from year to year.

Overall, FPL estimates that residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see their bills go up about $5 in 2014.

FPL collected some money for the nuclear-upgrade projects before they were completed.

That money was collected under a 2006 law that has been controversial because it has allowed utilities to charge customers for future nuclear plants that might not start generating electricity for years, if ever. But Hofmeyer said FPL financed 80-percent of the costs of the upgrade projects.

Utilities often seek base-rate increases after power-plant projects are finished to recoup costs. FPL argues that the upgrades at existing nuclear plants will lead to long-term savings. That is because the utility otherwise would have to buy more natural gas to fuel power plants.

"The News Service of Florida contributed to this report."

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