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Dave Jenkins

Florida Utilities are Jacking up Electric Bills and Squashing Customer Freedom

FPL, Duke and TECO Boost Electricity Rates by Record Amounts and Hinder Consumers from Producing their Own Electricity

WHAT: In recent month’s Florida’s three largest utility companies have all sought and secured approval for huge rate increases, jacking up power bills for more than 90 percent of the state’s residents. As if that were not bad enough, these monopoly utilities are also filing with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for additional increases so they can pass along all their costs associated with higher natural gas prices.

Because Florida allows these monopoly utilities to operate outside the free market, their customers are captive, unable to shop among providers for the best rate. The only recourse one has against higher electric bills is to install solar panels and generate your own power. Now, Florida Power & Light (FPL) is trying to stomp out that tiny glimmer of liberty.The utility is behind new legislation designed to make rooftop solar unaffordable.

Here are some alarming facts:

  • Recent rate increases approved by the PSC will raise electric bills for most Floridians as much as 18 percent, with additional increases coming from fuel cost adjustments that Florida utilities are allowed to impose on customers to protect their profit margin.

  • The primary reason for these increases is bad planning by the utilities, which have failed to diversify their energy sources to reflect the current market.

  • FPL’s rate increase on residential and small business customers is subsidizing a $1 billion rate decrease for its eight largest commercial customers.

  • At the behest of FPL, state Senator Jen Bradley (Dist. 5) just introduced an anti-net-metering bill designed to kill rooftop solar by 1) allowing utilities to pay virtually nothing for power their customers send back to the grid, and 2) allowing utilities to impose onerous fees that further reduce the economic benefits of rooftop solar.

Florida’s monopoly utilities are rigging the system to not only jack up their profits on the backs of their customers, but they also want to keep their customers dependent solely on them for their electricity, no matter the cost, by preventing folks from becoming more self-sufficient with rooftop solar.

Florida does not have a free market when it comes to energy. There cannot be a free market if utilities are allowed to have captive customers who are forced to pay whatever the utility dictates. A free market can never exist without competition.

CRS believes it is critical for Floridians to push back on these monopoly utilities, and the politicians that do their bidding, to protect ratepayers from ever increasing electricity prices, safeguard the freedom to be energy independent, and to finally establish a free market in Florida’s energy sector.

Dave Jenkins, President Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship David has worked for CRS, or its predecessor organization Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP), since 2005. For much of that time he served as Vice President for Government & Political Affairs for REP. He has been instrumental in numerous organizational and legislative accomplishments. David has written and spoken extensively about many of today’s most pressing environmental issues, conservatism, our nation’s conservation heritage and American politics. His writing has appeared in dozens of newspapers and other publications. Prior to CRS and REP, David was the American Canoe Association’s Director of Conservation and Public Policy for 10 years, and before that was on the legislative staff for Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM). He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University.

Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship

Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship (CRS) is a national nonprofit grassroots organization founded on the premise that environmental stewardship and natural resource conservation are inherently conservative, and that the true conservative will be a good steward of the natural systems and resources that sustain life on earth.

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