FPL asks for cost passthrough for nuclear uprate program

Florida Power & Light is asking the Florida Public Service Commission to let it pass through to ratepayers about $1.8bn in costs to upgrade and add new generating capacity at four nuclear power units.

FPL, a unit of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), on Oct. 1 asked the commission to let it increase its base rates to reflect the Extended Power Uprate (EPU) systems that are being placed in service and will begin serving customers in 2012. In January 2008, the commission made an affirmative determination of need for FPL’s EPU project. The EPU project is being accomplished at FPL’s four nuclear units located at two plant sites in Florida: Turkey Point Units 3-4, and St. Lucie Units 1-2.

The uprates have won approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The St. Lucie 2 uprate was approved by NRC in September. 

The EPU project is currently expected to provide FPL’s customers with a total of 526 MW-to-536 MW of additional, non-greenhouse gas emitting, baseload generation, without expanding the footprints of the Turkey Point and St. Lucie plants, the utility noted. The EPU project is currently expected to save FPL’s customers over $3.8bn (nominal) in fuel costs over the life of the uprated units, while decreasing FPL’s reliance on natural gas by over 3% in the first full year of operation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 32 million tons during the life of the uprated units.

This year, FPL completed EPU work at St. Lucie Unit 1, increasing the output of that unit by about 148 MWe, and at Turkey Point Unit 3, increasing output of that unit by 125.5-130.5 MWe. By the end of November, FPL said it expects to complete the final EPU outage work at St. Lucie Unit 2, increasing the output of that unit by about 127 MWe. FPL is on track to complete the whole EPU project package in 2013, with the final outage at Turkey Point Unit 4 concluding in March 2013 and adding about 125.5-130.5 MWe.

The EPU project qualifies for cost recovery pursuant to the Nuclear Power Plant Cost Recovery process, the utility noted. “FPL’s request reflects the items being placed in service in 2012 as well as a true-up of the 2011 base rate adjustment,” the utility added. “The amount of 2012 items being placed into service is currently estimated to be $1,803,382,928 (jurisdictional, net of participants). The annual jurisdictional revenue requirements associated with this amount and the true-up of the 2011 base rate adjustment equal $246,053,294 or approximately $2.59 on a typical 1,000 kWh monthly residential bill.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.