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The $7.6 billion nuclear bailout. Who's really paying?

Long Island Power Authority ratepayers—including those in Suffolk County—will be and already are paying a disproportionate share of the $7.6 billion bailout of four upstate nuclear power plants pushed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, writes Karl Grossman this week. The bailout runs for 12 years. It kicked in last year with an added charge in the electric bills of all New York State residents, businesses and other entities including schools and governments.

A lawsuit is underway in New York State Supreme Court to end the bailout. It follows unsuccessful efforts in the State Legislature to stop it, of which State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. from Suffolk, was a leader. “The lawsuit is our hope now,” he said last week.

The disproportionate share LIPA ratepayers are being charged is based on a complicated formula developed by Exelon, which owns in whole or part the four plants, and approved by the state. Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, calculates that LIPA ratepayers are being hit with an overcharge of many millions of dollars a year in contrast to what should be their share.

The bailout is based on a claim by Governor Cuomo supported by the State Public Service Commission that nuclear power plants don’t generate greenhouse or carbon gases and thus should receive “zero emissions credit”—an assertion the lawsuit strongly challenges. Read the full article.

And watch Grossman explain more on Enviro Close-Up with attorney Susan Shapiro.