Public Citizen to FERC: Application for Sale of FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant to Exelon Is Incomplete, Should Be Rejected

Oct. 11, 2016

Public Citizen to FERC: Application for Sale of FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant to Exelon Is Incomplete, Should Be Rejected

Exelon and Entergy Omit References to New York’s $8 Billion Subsidy in Their FERC Application

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Exelon and Entergy’s application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval of the sale of a New York state nuclear plant is incomplete and should be rejected, Public Citizen said today.

Exelon is seeking FERC’s permission to acquire Entergy’s FitzPatrick nuclear facility in upstate New York.

In its filing (PDF), Public Citizen noted that the application before FERC fails to include any mention of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Zero Emission Credit (ZEC) subsidy and its potential impact on Exelon’s market power. Exelon is trying to purchase FitzPatrick only for the financial value of the ZEC, Public Citizen maintains.

Cuomo’s proposal would allocate roughly $8 billion over 12 years to three of the state’s nuclear power facilities. If the sale of FitzPatrick is approved, Exelon would gain control over all the ZEC-recipient facilities – and would get all $8 billion in subsidies.

Public Citizen calls on FERC to require Exelon and Entergy to redo their market power analysis and resubmit the results for further analysis.

In addition, Public Citizen questions whether the ZEC payments violate FERC’s rules. While New York has claimed that the ZEC has been structured to address climate change, details in the ZEC program reveal it to be a convoluted and improper effort at economic development by forcing all New York ratepayers to provide unprecedented subsidies to the nuclear power plants. Such economic development programs are inconsistent with FERC’s rules and regulations.

Furthermore, once the companies account for the ZEC payment, the acquisition of FitzPatrick likely will not be in the public interest, and FERC must reject it, Public Citizen maintains.

In its filing, Public Citizen also notes that such costly subsidies for the three aging nuclear facilities diverts capital away from superior, competing investments such as wind, solar and energy efficiency.

“Giving billions of dollars to a single company operating three aging nuclear power plants that are no longer economically feasible is the wrong direction for New York,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “Instead, the state should invest in cost-effective, forward-looking and safe strategies like boosting renewables and energy efficiency.”

On July 22, Public Citizen filed comments with the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) opposing the proposed subsidy. On Aug. 1, the PSC approved the subsidy over the objections of Public Citizen and several other parties.

On Aug. 19, Entergy and Exelon filed an application with FERC for permission to sell the FitzPatrick nuclear power facility to Exelon.

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