Newspaper: The Evening Sentinel

Date: April 3, 1979

Title: Higher Met-Ed Bills to be the End Result

Author: Deb Cline, Associate Editor


Metropolitan Edison customers will probably begin to feel the financial effects of the Three Mile Island plant accident in six months.

John Clugston, Met-Ed western division manager, said today the cost of the utility's having to purchase more expensive fuel as a result of the shutdown of the plant will be reflected in customers' energy adjustment clause on their utility bills in six months.

He could not say how much of an increase in the adjustment clause customers would experience.

He also could not say how much the plant repair and clean up would cost the company.

Officials have said the unit is insured for damages to the plant and for the replacement of the fuel core up to $300 million. Most costs associated with clean up and repair, other than design modification, would be covered by this insurance, officials said.

However, U.S. Sen. Gary Hart, chairman of the Senate public works subcommittee, said he has learned Three Mile Island may be so badly contaminated, it may never be used again. "It may be more expensive to clean it up than it was to build it," Hart said.

CLUGSTON SAID the utility is purchasing fuel reserves from a Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland power pool with the energy being purchased costing 15 times more than the energy produced by the nuclear plant.

He said the cost of the reserve energy being purchased would approximate $1 million a day until the plant is back in operation.

Asked why customers should absorb some costs of the accident, Clugston said, "You take the bad with the good, I guess…The public would have to absorb the costs because they also absorbed lower energy costs when the plant went on."

"It if wasn't here, they'd be paying higher costs anyway."

A spokesman at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said today the PUC is investigating the effect of the nuclear plant accident on Met-Ed customers, adding there may be some development as early as this week.

The PUC's next meeting is Thursday.

HE SAID it "sounds remote" that customers would not be affected by the accident in some way.

"Obviously the money has to come from some place," he said. "The question is how much the customers can be assessed and how much the stockholders assessed."

It is not known at this point whether it is permissible for the utility to seek a rate increase from the PUC to recover costs of plant repair.

One thing that may figure into the situation is that Met-Ed was recently granted a rate increase based on costs associated with the number two generator, the one now damaged at the plant.