The Florida Public Service Commission has unanimously approved Florida Power & Light Company‘s (FPL) comprehensive, four-year rate settlement agreement developed jointly with the Florida Office of Public Counsel – the state’s consumer advocate – as well as the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
The approved agreement, which was also signed by Vote Solar, The CLEO Institute and Federal Executive Agencies, will phase in new rates starting in 2022 and supports continued long-term investments in infrastructure, clean energy and innovative technology – including the largest solar buildout in the United States. FPL projects typical residential customer bills will remain well below the national average through the end of 2025.
“Backed by multiple consumer and environmental groups, this comprehensive agreement benefits all 5.6 million FPL customers and our state by keeping bills low and accelerating investments in clean energy,” says Eric Silagy, FPL’s president and CEO. “Florida is a rapidly growing state on the front lines of climate change and our customers deserve bold, decisive, long-term actions as we continue building a more resilient and sustainable energy future all of us can depend on, including future generations.”
FPL’s new four-year rate plan directly supports the company’s groundbreaking “30-by-30” plan to install 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030, which remains ahead of schedule and under budget. In doing so, the agreement will also expand the company’s FPL SolarTogether program. The approved settlement agreement supports the development of 16 million solar panels across more than 50 new sites – enough to power approximately 1 million homes.
In addition to solar energy, the approved agreement supports FPL’s green hydrogen pilot project in Okeechobee County as well as the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center, an integrated solar-powered battery system that’s projected to begin serving customers later this year. The agreement also supports investments in resilient infrastructure projects.
Other components of the approved agreement include promoting and supporting expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure throughout FPL’s service area. It will support the early closing of a coal unit located in Georgia, in which FPL has a partial interest. It also helps FPL’s ongoing efforts to develop and deploy smart grid technology as well as continue to support FPL’s ability to respond to hurricanes, tropical storms and other natural disasters.
The unanimous PSC decision is the culmination of the customary, nearly year-long process of reviewing and setting new electric base rates. This included 12 public hearings in June and July, as well as FPL’s production and filing of nearly 100,000 pages of documents, including direct and rebuttal testimony, depositions under oath, and responses to thousands of discovery requests from PSC staff and intervening parties. During a public PSC hearing in September, a panel of FPL witnesses provided sworn testimony and responded to questions regarding the rate agreement.
As part of the approved agreement, FPL’s typical 1,000 kWh residential customer bill is expected to grow from 2021-2025 at an average annual rate of 2.8% and remain well below the national average. Typical FPL business customer bills are also expected to remain below the national average and grow from 2021-2025 at an average annual rate of 1.6% to 3.4%, depending on rate class.
The approved rate agreement supports continued clean energy investments that have drastically improved the fuel efficiency of FPL’s power plant fleet and reduced the fuel portion of customer bills over the last two decades by billions of dollars. This includes modernizing old, inefficient power plants with ultra-efficient clean energy centers that use less fuel to generate electricity, as well as developing zero-emissions solar energy centers that do not use fuel at all.
This FPL 30 x 30 solar venture is the biggest travesty in the industry and is nothing more than a blatant antitrust scam that undermines the business interests and future of all independent solar power utility system developers in the State of Florida and the United States. No other state in the country allows, accepts or tolerates a public utility to undermine the private businesses in the solar industry so the public utility can become a “solar industry cartel”, then dictate and monopolize the entire industry purely for it’s own benefit. The State government needs to intercede and put a… Read more »