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Michiganders to stop paying fee for non-existent federal program

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

DTE and Consumers Energy electric customers may notice a slight dip in their monthly bills.

Since 1982, utilities have tacked on a 15 to 20 cent fee on monthly electric bills.

It was supposed to pay for a federal program to dispose of spent fuel from nuclear power plants. Only one problem: The program never actually disposed of any waste.

Last fall, a federal court ordered an end to the fee.

Michigan Public Service Commissioner Greg White was part of the lawsuit.

“What we really wanted was for the program to work and start taking the waste from the plant sites,” says White. “But if they didn’t have a program, we could not just sit by idly and watch them continue to steal money from customers.”

To date, Michiganders have paid about $800 million for the non-existent nuclear waste disposal program.

Federal officials say they plan to spend the roughly $40 billion generated by the fee to design and build a nuclear waste disposal facility by 2048. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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