Attorney General Bill McCollum and Florida’s Public Counsel, J.R Kelly, today issued a consumer advisory on upcoming hearings to be held by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on a proposed $1.3 billion rate increase by Florida Power & Light (FP&L).
The first of the hearings, at which residents may air their concerns about the proposed increase, are scheduled to take place in Sarasota and Ft. Myers on Friday June 19. Additional hearings will occur over the following week throughout the FP&L service area.
“This proposed rate increase is excessive, especially when homeowners are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Attorney General McCollum, whose office has intervened before the PSC in the rate increase hearings. “While the economy is affecting power companies, the difference should not be made up entirely at the expense of Floridians’ wallets.”
Members of the Florida Counsel’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office as well as representatives from the Florida Retail Federation, Florida Industrial Power Users Group and AARP will also attend the hearings to hear the concerns of Floridians and voice their opposition to the increase proposed by Florida’s largest public utility.
“These are difficult economic times for ordinary citizens, businesses and state and local governments all over Florida,” said Kelly, who represents customers in utility cases before the PSC. “We all should be tightening our belts rather than trying to raise prices and increase profits.”
FP&L filed its request to increase its rates by $1.3 billion over a two-year period. The increase would apply to the base rate portion of the bill which accounts for approximately 42 percent of the total bill that customers pay each month. The increase amounts to $12.55 per month, or 30 percent, of the current base rates for customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, although most customers use more.
“Utility monopolies have a special obligation to Florida's citizens.
Without competition to keep prices in line, the PSC is the protector of the people and businesses they serve,” said Rick McAllister, President and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “The rate increase requested by Florida Power and Light appears irrational and a disservice to the people of Florida. We encourage business leaders to attend the public hearings and voice their outrage.”
There will be a total of nine customer hearings throughout the state, and these hearings will be the only opportunities for customers to personally address the PSC about FP&L service and the proposed rate increases. Both the Attorney General and Kelly urged FP&L customers to attend the hearings to voice their concerns and opinions. A full list of the hearing dates, times and locations is available online at:
“On behalf of our 3 million members statewide, we urge Floridians to attend these hearings and share their views,” said AARP Florida State Director Lori Parham. “The hearings are Floridians’ best opportunity to influence the Public Service Commission on plans that could cost us more than $1 billion in higher utility rates.”
Customers who cannot appear at the hearing can share their concerns with the PSC website listed below.