Monday, February 19, 2007

Paying Now for Future Power in SC

The Item:
Several electric utilities planning new nuclear power plants in South Carolina say they want customers to start paying for those facilities now rather than wait the 10 or so years before those plants are actually built and producing power.

Under a bill proposed in the Legislature last week, the cost of financing the nuclear facilities and new coal plants could be more easily passed on to ratepayers.

Duke Power, Progress Energy and SCANA Corp. say building the plants will ensure cheap and reliable energy for the future.

By paying millions in financing costs now, customers could avoid having to pay even more in accumulated interest when the plants go on line, they argue.

But consumer advocates say it's not right to charge today's customers for tomorrow's electricity.