Cox clamors for hearing over Palisades Plant sale

By John O'Brien | Feb 5, 2007

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox on Monday filed a petition with the state's Public Service Commission urging it to hear more arguments before it makes a decision on the proposed sale of the Palisades nuclear power plant.

Cox said new evidence from a hearing in Wisconsin suggests the sale will not be beneficial for ratepayers and ultimately will cost them an extra $62 million over the next nine years. Cox also says the sale will result in Michigan losing control over the plant.

Consumers Energy Co. is attempting to sell the plant, located near South Haven, to Entergy Nuclear Palisades LLC.

"The State of Michigan would lose its ability to regulate costs and operations at Palisades if the sale were to go through," Cox said. "Moreover, there are no guarantees of energy availability or price stability after the proposed contract ends in 15 years. And, finally, there are serious questions about whether a proposed refund shortchanges the amount of funding needed to properly decommission the nuclear power plant and pay for the clean-up.

"For these reasons and more, my experts strongly recommend opposing the sale of the Palisades nuclear power plant."

Two weeks ago, Consumers Energy witness John Reed's testimony was filed with the PSC of Wisconsin, stating that the sale of the Point Beach nuclear power plant by the Wisconsin Electric Power Co. results in a purchase price, per kilowatt of energy produced, that is more than twice the Palisades sale.

"This price difference would increase the sale price for Palisades from $380 million to $782 million. That is why the Public Service Commission should fully compare the reasons for this price difference before accepting the current Palisades proposal," Cox said.

CMS has said that the economics of the energy industry, through the sales of other power plants involved in the Nuclear Management Co., have struck the company and a sale is the best course of action.

Should Entergy be allowed to purchase the pant, it will own 11 nuclear generating reactors and manage another. It is the second largest nuclear power company in the country.

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