The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday is scheduled to receive a staff report recommending that electric utilities continue to be able to use a controversial practice of “hedging” natural-gas prices.
The state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers, and business groups argued last year that hedging has led to financial losses for consumers.
Following fast on the heels of an executive order from President Trump that calls for the unraveling of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Department of Justice has asked a federal appeals court to put a hold on all litigation pending before it over the EPA rule.
In a March 28 document filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce S. Gelber asked the court to “hold in abeyance,” or suspend, its review of a prominent court case challenging the Clean Power Plan — the EPA’s final rule, issued in late 2015, to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired and other fossil fuel-fired power plants.
After a lengthy debate, a House panel approved a proposal that would allow electric utilities to invest in natural-gas drilling projects and recoup the money from customers.
The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee voted 9-6 to approve the proposal, sponsored by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, and backed by Florida Power & Light. The issue stems, in part, from a fight about a FPL plan to invest in a natural-gas project in Oklahoma.
Some backers of a renewable-energy tax break that voters approved in August contend a House proposal to carry out the constitutional amendment could slow the growth of solar energy in Florida.
Also, several members of the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, which unanimously supported the proposal this week, expressed reservations that regulations outlined in the bill (HB 1351) may be too “overwhelming” for some in the solar installation industry.
A rate hike on the horizon for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Power customers might not be as big as initially proposed.
The Northwest Florida utility agreed Monday to a settlement with the state Office of Public Counsel, which objected to an original proposal to raise base rates by $106.8 million. An announcement of the settlement came just prior to the start of a hearing before the Florida Public Service Commission.
Environmental Benefits and Cost Savings Compelling
JEA and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) have agreed to terms to decommission the St. Johns River Power Park (SJRPP), a 1,252 MW coal-fired electric generating plant owned jointly by JEA (80 percent) and FPL (20 percent), in early 2018. When SJRPP was constructed in the early 1980s it represented the largest construction project in Jacksonville’s history. SJRPP has reliably served JEA and FPL customers for 30 years.
Funding for the Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by $2.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 under the first of a series of budget documents to be released this spring by President Donald Trump. The budget would also eliminate or reduce funding for certain Department of Energy programs.
Overall, federal funding for non-defense energy programs would be cut 18 percent and for the EPA by 31 percent in Fiscal Year 2018 under the budget.