SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
FL PSC Grants FPL’s Request to Expand into Oklahoma Drilling Operation
Florida Customers Would Bear Financial Risk of Out-of-State Venture
Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865.235.1448, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tallahassee, Fla.///NEWS STATEMENT/// The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today granted Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) request to invest in an out-of-state natural gas fracking operation in Oklahoma. The financial risk of the fracking venture would be borne by Florida customers. The company claims this investment will likely save customers money as a hedge on natural gas prices over the next 50 years – yet the company’s shareholders would earn 10.5% on the investment in the out-of-state natural gas operation regardless of the success of the venture.
The Office of Public Counsel, the office charged with protecting customers, noted in its brief that “50 years is a long time to speculate whether customers will receive a potential 2 cents a month in savings that may never be realized. And, in exchange for approximately two cents a month in non-guaranteed fuel savings for the next 50 years, FPL wants its customers to bear all the risks with this investment”.
What’s more troubling is that the PSC approved the deal without having a policy in place for such requests, which it stated it would consider in later phases.
“The Commission’s decision to approve FPL’s request to invest in an out-of-state fracking venture and place the financial risk squarely on the shoulders of Florida customers is bad policy. In fact, the Commission has no policy on such requests, nor, according to the Office of Public Counsel, the legal authority to make such policy decisions. For FPL it’s a sweet financial deal: Florida customers will bear the financial risk of an out-of-state fracking operation while FPL shareholders earn a hefty 10.5 % profit. FPL customers should be outraged at the Company’s overreach and concerned that the PSC, the agency charged with balancing the interest of the public with desires of monopoly utilities, approved the speculative out-of-state deal,” said Susan Glickman, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Florida Director.
In a positive move, the PSC approved the staff recommendation to deny FPL’s request to use customer dollars to lobby against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States wetlands protection rule. The staff agreed with SACE and other parties that the recovery of customer dollars for lobbying is not permitted.
George Cavros, SACE Florida Energy Policy Attorney stated, “The PSC did the right thing in rejecting FPL’s request to use customer dollars to attack clean water protections. Wetlands and clean water are critically important to Florida’s economy and our quality of life. Power companies shouldn’t be forcing customers to directly pay for attacks on environmental protections. Moreover, the law doesn’t allow it – the Commission affirmed that today.”
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org