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AARP Opposed to “Pay Now, Build Later” Plan

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 By Dick LaymanContact
January 9, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa lawmakers go back to work today, and among the unfinished items from last year is House File 561. Under the legislation, utilities could make ratepayers pay more now for a proposed nuclear power plant to be built later.

AARP Iowa Director of Advocacy Anthony Carroll says it is not nuclear power his group opposes, but the idea of paying for it up front. He notes the bill passed the Iowa House last session.

"The Senate is eligible to take up this bill immediately, from Day One. It doesn't have to go through the committee process, it's eligible for debate - and it's important that Iowans know that."

He says many Iowans are already having a hard time paying utility bills, and it should be the utility and its shareholders who shoulder the cost.

"The legislation says that this plant - which is estimated to take about 10 years to build - if at anyplace along the way it gets canceled, customers would have still have to pay all accumulated costs."

Right now, there isn't even an estimate of how much the proposed plant would cost, Carroll says. An AARP survey done last year found 72 percent of Iowans over age 50 oppose the idea of this kind of advance rate-making.

Backers of the bill say that it's a financial requirement in order to make construction possible, and the state needs the additional power.

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