Friday, November 7, 2008

Turkey Point shutdown: FPL wants customers to pay

A tiny hole drilled in a critical pipe at Turkey point in March 2006 cost FPL an estimated $6 million. Now, the utility wants to pass the bill on to ... its customers!

A report in the Miami Herald says in hearings before the Florida Public Services Commission, the state's utilities regulator, FPL has been claiming that the $6 million dollar shutdown was just part of its doing business and that customers should therefore foot the bill.

But, the consumer-oriented Office of Public Counsel "maintains that FPL should have been aware of the problems of the contract employee and should be responsible for paying the $6 million."

According to the Herald:
New information obtained by state regulators shows that the prime suspect in the case was a contract employee who drilled the hole because he was angry with the utility. According to a federal document, he had failed an FPL psychological test and had a criminal background that included charges of criminal mischief.

The new material also caused one Florida regulator to question federal nuclear safety standards because another employee knew about the drilled hole and didn't come forward until after the $6 million had been spent.

Many of the costs associated with that hole are unknown, such as the expense of the 1,100-plus interviews conducted by the FBI and a parallel investigation done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What is known is that while the power plant was shut down for the investigation and repairs, FPL had to spend $6 million to purchase power from elsewhere.
Read the full Herald story online, here.

UPDATE: The Herald has since put the story behind its "archive" wall, but you can still read the full story online, here.

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