May 20, 2005: CUB Takes PSC to Court to Stop Nuke Sale

  • May 20, 2005
Leah Steinberg

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2005

CUB Takes PSC to Court to Stop Nuke Sale

MADISON – Today the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) filed a lawsuit against the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to stop the sale of a nuclear power plant to an out-of-state, unregulated energy company.

“In approving the sale, the PSC sold out Wisconsin ratepayers and accepted meaningless promises from an out-of-state company that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on,” said Charlie Higley, executive director. “CUB is suing the PSC to ensure that the Wisconsin public maintains control and oversight over this nuclear power plant located in Wisconsin.”

The PSC approved the sale of the 540-megawatt Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant on March 17 to a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, an energy company headquartered in Virginia. The plant is currently owned by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) and Wisconsin Power & Light Company (WPL).

This sale would be the first time a major power plant, owned by a regulated Wisconsin utility and paid for by Wisconsin ratepayers, is sold to an out-of-state company. Allowing the sale would threaten the health, safety, and pocketbooks of Wisconsin ratepayers. The sale would also be another step toward utility deregulation, which has caused higher rates in other states.

The lawsuit was filed in Dane County. Others joining CUB on the lawsuit include the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, Local 2150 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin.

In approving the sale, the PSC accepted agreements that they hope Dominion will heed regarding the dismantling of the plant, the treatment of ratepayer funds to be used to dismantle the plant, and the storage of nuclear waste, among others. The lawsuit argues that these agreements are worthless, which means that Dominion can snub its promises without fear of retribution by the PSC. CUB is also concerned that, after 2013, ratepayers would lose financial benefits that would accrue if the plant was still owned by Wisconsin-based regulated utilities.