Friday, March 6, 2009

St. Lucie nuclear plant cuts back output, more evidence FPL over capacity

In yet another sign that with the ongoing economic recession FPL is now over-capacity in its Florida power plants, particulary its nuclear power plants in St. Lucie and at Turkey Point, Reuters news agency has reported that the St. Lucie nuclear power plant has slipped to 62 percent of power as of today.

In a story datelined out of New York, Reuters said that the 38% cut to power was detailed in the daily status report issued to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the St. Lucie plant, which is located on Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County, about 120 miles north of Miami.

No reason was given for the cutback in power production at the St. Lucie plant. But, FPL's CEO Lewis Hay recently indicated that the utility giant was over capacity, saying that many of FPL's "customers are cutting back, and they're not paying their bills, either."

Likewise, in early February Reuters reported that Nuclear Unit 4 at the Turkey Point power plant 20 miles south of Miami had dipped to 60 percent power, again citing a plant report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Despite the cutback in power usage in the State, Reuters said in today's story that FPL continues on track with plans "to spend about $1.5 billion to add about 400 MW of capacity to the company's St Lucie and Turkey Point reactors by 2012."

FPL also plans to request the Florida Public Services Commission this Spring for nearly a billion dollars in base rate hikes to pay for the construction of two unbuilt nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, with those rate hikes to be absorbed by FPL customers in their monthly electricity bills.

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