Consumer group wants closer look at nuclear plant closure

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 10:44 AM EST

Florida's Public Counsel's Office, which represents consumers, has asked for an investigation into the decision to close the nuclear plant in Crystal River.

The Office filed paperwork Monday asking the Public Service Commission into Duke Energy's decision to shutter the 36-year-old plant.

The Office said Duke should refund hundreds of millions of dollars to customers for its "woefully inadequate" handling of the plant, according to Bay News 9's partner newspaper The Tampa Bay Times.

The petition also asks the state to see if closing the plant is the best idea.

The Florida retail Federation backs the petition.

Many wanted Duke to repair the plant because it could provide cheap and clean electricity.

Both the commission and Duke said it received the petition and are reviewing it.

Problems for the plant started in 2009, when a concrete containment building cracked during a project to upgrade the facility.

An attempt to repair the crack lead to more problems and $3.4 billion in additional expenses.

Duke also had to pay $300 million to replace the power the plant could no longer generate.

Duke took over the plant when it bought Progress Energy in July of 2012.

The utility has already refunded customers $388 million for replacement power.

Duke reached an agreement with its insurance company for the insurer to pay only a fraction of the cost to bring the plant online.

The petition says Duke and the insurance company should strike a new deal giving Duke at least $500 million more.

The petition also says Duke should not receive $111 million from customers it previously spent to upgrade the plant.