The past two active Atlantic hurricane seasons have appropriately caused Floridians to be more vigilant with storm preparations.
Last year’s hurricane season was among the strongest on record, and forecasts are predicting another active year with the potential for 14 to 18 named storms, including seven hurricanes — with three becoming Category 3 or higher. We could be facing another year with hurricanes as destructive as Irma, Maria, Matthew and Hermine.
State regulators next week are slated to consider a plan by Florida Power & Light to purchase a utility system run by the city of Vero Beach. The Florida Public Service Commission on June 5 will take up the issue, which comes after a long-running battle in Indian River County about electric service.
That battle, at least in part, has pitted the city against Indian River County and led in 2016 to a Florida Supreme Court ruling in favor of the city.
Continuing a shift in Florida’s utility industry toward using natural gas to fuel power plants, Tampa Electric Co. on Thursday announced an $853 million project that includes rebuilding a generating unit to rely on gas instead of coal.
Also, the company plans to shutter another old coal-fired unit. The changes are planned for the utility’s Big Bend Power Station, which has four generating units in Hillsborough County. The utility said it will “repower” the complex’s Unit 1 to eliminate coal as the fuel and move to natural gas, with the changes expected to be complete in 2023.
In a major move in the state’s utility industry, the parent company of Florida Power & Light said Monday it will buy Northwest Florida’s Gulf Power as part of a $6.475 billion deal.
NextEra Energy Inc. plans to buy Gulf Power, the Florida City Gas natural-gas company and ownership interests in two power plants from The Southern Company. The purchase of Gulf Power and the stakes in the power plants, which are subject to federal approval, are expected to close during the first half of 2019, while the Florida City Gas purchase is slated for the third quarter of 2018, according to a NextEra Energy announcement.
Rejecting arguments by the Sierra Club, the state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously backed a 2016 decision by utility regulators to approve a rate agreement for Florida Power & Light.
The Sierra Club challenged part of the wide-ranging agreement that dealt with replacing what are known as “peakers” — generating units that are used at times of high customer demand and during emergencies such as storms. In the rate agreement, FPL sought to recoup costs of replacing decades-old peakers with larger, more-efficient units.
FMEA’s Bill Comparison for April 2018 shows the average bills of public power utilities across Florida are $11.82 less than the average bills for investor-owned utilities per 1,000 kWh.
Overall, out of fifteen ranked categories; the City of Mount Dora and Florida Power & Light both report the lowest bills in four categories. The City of Bartow reports the lowest bills in three of the categories and the City of Tallahassee and Lakeland Electric both report the lowest bills in two categories.
For residential bill categories, out of three categories; the City of Bartow reports the lowest bills in all three categories.
Florida Power & Light has reached an agreement to refund $27.7 million to customers, in part because of an “over-recovery” of costs following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
The agreement, announced Tuesday between the Juno Beach-based utility and the state Office of Public Counsel, still needs approval from the Florida Public Service Commission, which could sign off next week. The Office of Public Counsel represents consumers in utility issues.