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Jul 4, 3:00 AM EDT

Fla consumer advocate asks Duke to refund $54M


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's consumer advocate is asking state regulators to require Duke Energy to refund $54 million the utility collected from rate payers for a failed nuclear power plant project in Levy County.

The Office of Public Counsel on Wednesday filed a request with state regulators, asking them to require Duke to refund the money.

Duke has sued contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. for failing to complete work on the failed $24.7 billion Levy nuclear project.

The public counsel's request is meant to ensure that any money won by Duke in that suit goes back to customers, who paid $54 million for the project.

The Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/1qC7aJP ) reports that Florida's Duke Energy customers are already paying $1.5 billion for the Levy project through electric rates, though the plant will never generate power.

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

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