Peco Energy agreed to pay $3.7 million of the $15 million that Montgomery County says the utility owes in real estate taxes on Limerick for 2000. Peco, now part of Exelon, is finalising similar interim settlements for Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom.

Pennsylvanian utilities are at odds with the state over the value of the nuclear plants in a deregulated electricity market.

The Montgomery County Board of Assessment valued Limerick at $912 million after deregulation. Peco balked at this amount, saying that it did not take into account the decommissioning costs that would actually reduce the cost of the plant to zero.

Prior to deregulation, Peco and other Pennsylvanian utilities were regulated by the state’s Public Utility Commission and paid a property assessment to the state under the Public Utility Realty Tax (Purta), which was distributed to local governments. In 1999, Purta changed, and deregulated companies became required to pay local property taxes based on local assessments of their plant’s value.

As a result of the controversy over the Limerick assessment, the Spring-Ford District has asked for independent appraisals to review the plant’s value.

In December 2000, Susquehanna operator PP&L agreed to pay $6 million in property and transfer taxes to local governments for tax years 2000 and 2001, in an out-of-court settlement. Local authorities in that case had sought a total of $70 million.