Psst, a nuclear plant surcharge may be in your future

In the next two weeks, the Florida Public Service Commission must decide in public hearings how much the state’s two largest utilities — Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida — will charge customers in 2012 for nuclear plants of tomorrow. It will be the fourth year the utilities will be allowed to collect money for nuclear costs. Together, they are asking customers for $337 million next year.

FPL wants $2.09 a month from each customer using an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. Progress Energy wants more than twice that — $4.80 per month for 1,000 kilowatt hours, about a 20-cent decrease from what customers are currently paying for nuclear projects.

Gulf Power is not asking for the fee to be added to their bills, but the rumor of such a plant coming to Northwest Florida, particularly north Escambia county, has lingered for years.

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