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Billy Young II Lies about Duke Energy for Political Gain

The lying by Billy Young II is too outrageous to let stand. His new ad claims that “Dudley voted to allow Duke Energy to raise fees on Pinellas families for a plant that may never be built.”

It’s an outright lie.

Dwight Dudley voted for tougher regulation of the utilities, and wasn’t even in the legislature when the 2006 vote to allow the nuclear cost recovery.

The Tampa Bay Times reported today that it is just not true:

The Legislature did pass a law that allows Duke to levy such charges in 2006 — before Dudley was even in the Legislature.

The commercial cites a 2013 law that Dudley did vote for. But that law made it harder to impose advance fees.  

In fact, during the House debate over the 2013 legislation cited in Young’s commercial, Dudley proposed an amendment that would have prevented Duke from charging those controversial fees (unless citizens voted to pay them). The amendment failed, however, and the fees are still in place. 

“Billy Young II’s latest attack is a Hail Mary from a struggling campaign that can’t win on the issues or with the truth,” said FDP spokesman Joshua Karp. “Billy has gotten so desperate that he thinks Pinellas County residents will forget that 2006 came before 2012. It’s hard to think of a more embarrassingly false attack than faulting your opponent for a vote that occurred half a decade before he was elected.

“It’s clear for all of Pinellas County to see that since Billy can’t win on his name, he’s going to try and win with lies. Middle class families and ratepayers deserve better. They deserve someone who will go to Tallahassee and fight against Duke Energy’s rip-off of customers. That’s what Dwight Dudley has done since he was elected, and that’s what he will continue to do when he’s reelected next Tuesday.”  

Check the Facts: 

Tampa Bay Times: SB 1472 Will Make It “Harder For” Duke Energy “To Charge Customers More” By Imposing New Restrictions To Make It Harder For Duke To Collect The Advance Fee. The Tampa Bay Times reported, “In the short term, Duke Energy can keep collecting the ‘advance fee’ money already approved for the Levy County nuclear plant.  But, in the future, it will get a little harder for the utility to charge customers more.  The Florida Senate with a 40-0 vote Thursday gave final approval to a bill that adds tougher guidelines for use of the advance fee. The bill, SB 1472, now goes to the governor.  […] In particular, the bill lawmakers passed states that if a utility cannot demonstrate that it plans to complete the construction of the nuclear plant, it will no longer be allowed to collect money. The utility has 10 years after it gets its federal license to begin construction or lose access to the fee.  And it must prove the plant is both economically ‘feasible’ and ‘reasonable’ to continue moving forward with the projects. The existing law required only that the plants be ‘feasible.’  But questions abound whether Duke Energy’s Levy project remains reasonable at a projected $24.7 billion – the most expensive nuclear plant in U.S. history.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/3/13]

Tampa Bay Times Headline On SB 1472: “Florida Lawmakers Toughen Guidelines For Using Nuclear Advance Fee.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/3/13]

Duke Opposed SB 1472. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Duke Energy spokesman Sterling Ivey said, “We remain opposed to the bill, even as amended and passed. The process in current law is working and additional legislation or state requirements are not needed, which was confirmed today by the Florida Supreme Court.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/3/13]

Tampa Bay Times: SB 1472 “Imposes New Hurdles On Electric Companies Before They Can Collect Fees For Pre-Construction” Of Nuclear Power Plants. According to a Tampa Bay Times rundown of passed legislation, “Imposes new hurdles on electric companies before they can collect fees for pre-construction costs of nuclear power plants. (SB 1472)” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/6/13]

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