Three of Florida’s largest electric utilities are asking regulators to make changes that would allow them to recover more money from customers for economic-development efforts. Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Co. and Tampa Electric Co. filed a proposal this week asking the state Public Service Commission to revamp a rule that limits the amount of customer money that can go to economic development.
The proposal would change a formula that takes into account the utilities’ gross annual revenues and effectively caps the economic-development amount at $3 million a year. FPL currently is at the $3 million cap, while Tampa Electric is limited to $2.9 million and Gulf Power is limited to $2.3 million.
The utilities’ proposal would gradually increase a percentage of gross annual revenues that could go to economic development. The utilities said the changes would not have “adverse impacts” on customers, in part because economic development leads to broader customer bases.
That, in turn, allows utilities to spread out costs, the filing said. “Although intended to promote economic development in Florida, the rule in its current form has come to be unduly restrictive,” the filing said. “The $3 million expense cap set forth in the rule has not changed since 1995. For a large utility, such as FPL, this expense cap has had the practical consequence of limiting FPL’s recoverable economic development expenses to a flat $3 million per year in each and every year since the rule’s inception over 20 years ago.”
Reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida