Consumer organizations in 11 states have begun efforts to protect electric utility customers from possible costs resulting from cancellation by Westinghouse Corp of contracts to deliver uranium to fuel nuclear power plants.
According to an announcement from the Environmental Action Foundation, the 11 groups began filing petitions with their state regulatory commissions seeking public hearings before utilities are allowed to reach out-of-court settlements with Westinghouse.
Among petitioners is the Virginia Consumer Congress which is asking the State Corporation Commission to make sure the Virginia Electric and Power Co. "not be allowed to lose good judgment" in its dispute with Westinghouse over uranium contracts.
Vepco is one of 22 utilities suing Westinghouse for withdrawing from contracts. Three of the utilities settled with Westinghouse in an out-of-court agreement endorsed by a Pittsburgh judge last month.
In a news release, Environmental Action Foundation said the settlement provided the utilities with only between one-half and two thirds of the value of their original contracts.
The problem began in 1975 when Westinghouse cancelled the contracts on grounds that uranium prices had escalated, whereupon the utilities - who would be required to pay higher prices than the contracts called for -sued.
Westinghouse, in turn, has sued 29 uranium producers, accusing them of engaging in a price-fixing conspiracy. That case and the remaining cases against Westinghouse are pending in courts.