Florida Power & Light on Friday filed a four-year rate plan that would lead to most customers seeing gradual increases in their monthly bills, with the utility saying the proposal would allow it to “continue focusing on ways to deliver low-cost electricity.”
Base rates for typical customers would increase 18 percent over four years. FPL provides electricity for almost all power customers in Flagler-Palm Coast.
The filing at the Florida Public Service Commission set the stage for what likely will be a months-long process of review and debate about whether — or by how much — FPL should be able to increase base electric rates.
The proposal calls for a $1.1 billion increase in base-rate revenues in 2022 and a $607 million increase in 2023. It also calls for a $140 million increase in 2024 and a $140 million increase in 2025 to pay for solar-energy projects.
“We recognize there is never a good time to request a rate increase, and we remain steadfastly committed to providing customers unparalleled value while building an energy future they can depend on,” FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said in a prepared statement. “Due to our consistent and disciplined, long-term investments, we’re able to provide service that is cleaner and more reliable than ever before while our residential, commercial and industrial bills have remained among the lowest bills in the state and the nation for over a decade.”
The proposal would continue carrying out FPL’s merger with Northwest Florida’s Gulf Power, which formally took effect Jan. 1.
FPL and Gulf have had substantially different rates in the past, and the proposal would take that into account through what is described as a “transition rider.” That would result in Northwest Florida customers paying more than FPL customers in other areas — but also seeing their bills remain relatively flat, according to the company.
Utilities typically use a benchmark of residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, though actual usage varies widely.
Under the plan, FPL residential customers outside of Northwest Florida who use 1,000 kilowatt hours a month would see their bills go from $99.05 in January 2021 to $109.58 in January 2022, according to the utility’s projections. The bills would then go to $113.49 in January 2023; $115.61 in January 2024; and $117.06 in January 2025.
Such Northwest Florida residential customers, meanwhile, would see their bills go from $132.41 in January 2021 to $133.21 in January 2022, the projections show. The bills would then go to $132.39 in January 2023; $129.79 in January 2024; and $126.50 in January 2025.
Rates for businesses are calculated differently than residential rates, but FPL said the proposal, in part, would lead to small- and medium-sized businesses seeing bills increase at an average annual rate of 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent.
Base-rate cases are among the most closely watched issues at the Public Service Commission, as they involve large amounts of money and extensive financial and technical details. FPL is operating under a base-rate settlement that took effect in January 2017 and will end in December.
As an indication of the complexity, FPL’s filing asks the Public Service Commission to make a decision on the proposal by Nov. 12 — leaving eight months for the process to play out.
The utility, which has about 5.6 million customers after the merger, submitted a letter in January to the commission that gave a preview of the filing that was made Friday. Since then, the state Office of Public Counsel, which represents customers, and business and consumer groups have filed requests to formally intervene in the rate case.
“The interests that the FRF (the Florida Retail Federation) seeks to protect are of sufficient immediacy to warrant intervention, and its members’ interests in having the commission set rates for the companies (FPL and Gulf Power) that are fair, just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory are exactly the interests that this proceeding is designed to protect,” attorneys for the statewide retail organization wrote in a motion to intervene Wednesday. “This is a general rate case, and the FRF seeks to protect its members’ substantial interests as they will be affected by the commission’s decisions determining the companies’ rates.”
Among the myriad issues that will be addressed is how much of a return on equity, a key measure of profitability, should be allowed for FPL. The proposal calls for a “midpoint” of 11.5 percent of the allowed return on equity — essentially allowing FPL to earn within a range that has a midpoint of 11.5 percent. That would be up from the currently allowed midpoint of 10.55 percent.
In its filing Friday, the company said the proposal “will enable FPL to continue to access capital on competitive terms through 2025, ensuring the company can continue to meet customer needs and expectations essentially at all times in all financial climates and is able to bring additional value to customers through smart, innovative investments.”
–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida
WILLIAM NELSON says
Only one question: WHY ?? And while we’re at it, why $2.90 / gallon gas prices ??
Percy's mother says
Why $2.90/gallon gas prices??
The refineries in Texas were shut down for a week or more due to the deep freeze that shut most of Texas down. That was about a month ago. That event was all over the news.
Plus, our new President shut down the Keystone pipeline.
Take the two things noted above, and you have higher gas prices. Take the two things noted above, and you’ll see even higher gas prices. This is only the beginning.
Even as an environmentalist, I DO live in the world of reality, and solar and wind can’t supply the needs of this country.
Mark my words when gas prices hit highs in a few months.
Ray W. says
Percy’s mother is right about the probability of higher gas prices, but that will be due to the fact that not all of the Texas refineries are back to full speed. There is only so much national storage capacity for refined petroleum products and shutting down about 25% of America’s refining capacity for several weeks has depleted whatever reserves that were already in the system; it is now an issue of supply and demand. Once refineries are back at full capacity, we can begin to catch up. This price rise is all on Texas regulators who failed to require winterization procedures for all manner of electrical generating facilities. In other words, Texas Republicans did this to us all, in the name of deregulation, i.e., neglect and malfeasance in office. Biden shutting down the northern leg of the XL pipeline has absolutely nothing to do with today’s gas prices, nor would it for several years. The northern leg was only about two or three miles into an over 800 mile construction process when it was shut down. The northern leg was supposed to connect to the southern leg in Steele City, Nebraska. The southern leg already carries about 600,000 barrels of North Dakota crude oil to Houston and is at maximum capacity. Trains carry the crude oil in special tank cars from the North Dakota oil fields to Nebraska. If the northern leg of the XL pipeline were to be completed at some point in the future, the Canadian oil it would transport to Nebraska would displace the North Dakota oil the southern leg now carries, which oil would have to be transported by rail all the way to Houston. Rail transport from North Dakota to Houston costs more than pipeline transport (about $15 per barrel vs. $5 per barrel last I checked), so North Dakota crude oil would immediately cost more to transport to the Texas refineries. Percy’s mother appears to believe in the partial fiction spouted by one political party. The northern leg of the XL pipeline is nowhere near as important as it was when both legs of the XL pipeline were proposed way back in 2007 or 2008. Back then, North Dakota produced about 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day. With improved fracking and horizontal drilling methods, North Dakota fields increased production to over one million barrels of crude oil per day during the Obama years, so no one can claim that the federal government interfered with crude oil exploration and production in those years. At the end of the Bush administration, overall national crude oil production was just over 5 million barrels per day. During the Obama years, it exploded to almost 10 million barrels per day. Few dreamed that would happen at the beginning of the Obama years, but it did. If some company were to build another pipeline from Nebraska to Houston to carry the Canadian oil, the northern leg would make more sense. Now, a completed northern leg would only cost American oil companies money to transport their oil, the invisible hand of the free market being what it is. National crude oil production continued to increase during the Trump years, at least until coronavirus effects hit the marketplace. When that happened, crude oil exploration and production tanked. As an aside, the Dakota Access Pipeline carries just over 400,000 barrels of North Dakota crude oil per day, but it too is at full capacity and could not transport more if Canadian oil displaced North Dakota oil in the southern leg.
Ray W. says
Many oil refineries are in Texas. When the power went down, the refineries stopped making gasoline and other products. About half the refineries are up and running again. The other half are in the startup phase at various levels. Texas refineries handle about 5 million barrels of crude oil per day. Simple supply and demand. Less gasoline available? Higher prices! Blame this one on deregulation. Regulation is not automatically bad. If Texas had required its electrical companies to winterize their facilities, the system would not have failed. No one is talking about Oklahoma losing power, yet it had to have been just as cold. Of course, Oklahoma was part of the national system, so it could simply buy electricity from Florida or any other state in the national grid if its utilities went down. The whole country is paying for Texas’ lack of regulatory oversight.
Wow so power is becoming a luxury as well.
Affordable green energy is a must—solar panels for home use, generators to store power and so on that don’t break the bank. Power companies have us by the backside because they know purchasing good solar kits isn’t affordable either. People need options to go away from the bloated contracts and take power from the greatest energy producer we have available, the sun.
FPL is a protected monopoly and their only concern is profits. They should be lowering our bills. Stop the thieves at FPL. VOTE NO!
George Libonate says
Don’t you make enough money now. Are not the CEO’s making enough? My rates are too high as they are. I’m on a fixed pension and have not had a single cost of living raise in eight years. What should I give up so you can have higher profits?
land of no blinkers says
At least you have a pension, those days are GONE for most people today!
FPL provides great service, before they increase rates, they need to stop making political contributions to buy more influence in Tallahassee, until they stop, we all need to contact the Public Service Commission and say NO to rate increases.
D C Rosenblad says
We have to stop the monopoly of FPL, if they need more money then they should stop paying their CEOs so much! This company is part of our economic problem in Florida! Vote NO!!!!
CB from PC says
The kw/hr and Demand rates for FPL bills are lower than in many States like CA, NJ and NY.
According to Edison Electric Institute rate data based on 1000 KW usage as of Jan 2020, FPL is 30% lower than National average.
NJ, CA, and NY all are higher than the National Average.
See a pattern here?
If you think there is a spike in utility rates, wait until you see your HO insurance renewal rate increase due to losses from the “mostly peaceful” protests of last Summer.
Enjoy the $4 per gallon gas also, courtesy of Joe.
Ray W. says
FPL began converting to natural gas turbine generating facilities decades ago. Improvements in efficiency in natural gas turbine design now has Mitsubishi J-model units converting about 64% of energy consumed into electricity generated, the most efficient in the industry. The best coal-fired generating plant in the world in Europe is at about 44% efficiency. Most American coal-fired generating plants are in the 3-35% range. In that respect, CP from PC is correct. A few years ago, FPL bought a couple of coal-fired plants and immediately shut them down. FPL had long-term contracts with the plants and would have had to pay higher prices for that form of electrical generation; it was cheaper to buy the facilities and close them. Crystal River had four coal-fired plants. Duke Power shut them all down and built two natural gas facilities, with two more in the permitting process (my oldest daughter and her husband work for Mitsubishi in that field; he is an electrical engineer and she is in management). Electricity generated by natural gas turbines is simply cheaper than coal. In the last several years, utility-grade solar panels have become cheaper than natural gas facilities, which is why FPL asks to raise money in advance to pay for more solar capacity. CB from PC completely misses the mark when he blames $4 per gallon gas prices on Joe. He is simply wrong. This one is all on Texas. No gasoline production from Texas refineries for several weeks and the whole country feels the pain. I am old enough to remember $4 gas prices under W and I remember paying $1.49 for gas under Obama. Something tells me that gas prices are set by supply and demand. During W’s tenure, speculators drove up crude oil prices to over $140 per barrel, at which point it all crashed down and we had cheap gas again. During Obama’s tenure, just about every well drilling rig was in North Dakota looking for oil, which was going for over $100 per barrel. So much oil was produced that oil prices dropped to under $30 per barrel. As Wittgenstein pointed out, one of the most difficult things in life is to not fool ourselves. Joe had nothing to do with Texas regulators refusing to require electrical generating facilities to winterize their equipment. Allowing oneself to believe that Joe had anything to do with poorly winterized electrical generating plants may make CB from PC feel good, but it won’t change the fact that the power grid failed in Texas when it didn’t have to and that Joe had nothing to do with it. As for HO insurance rates, these are set by state regulators. Florida’s regulators will have to approve any insurance company requests for increases. I suspect CB from PC will be proven wrong in that claim, too, though I don’t doubt that the insurance companies will produce witnesses to testify that they need more money and blame it on protests in Seattle and Minneapolis; it not being all that hard to find witnesses to say anything if they are paid enough. I recall reading the Florida Supreme Court opinion overturning a new statute creating medical malpractice limitations. It seems that people who testified to the legislature about doctors leaving the state due to increased insurance premiums were not being completely truthful. And, other testimony that the new limitations would lower insurance premiums turned out to be less than truthful, too. The legislature was hoodwinked by the testimony. The Court was not. Legislative limits on an individual’s right to seek damages for medical injuries must be based on truthful testimony, after all.
Thanks so much for the “FACT Based” information Ray W. You gave me quite the education today on FPL . As you stated, the Texas energy debacle is all about years of deregulation and corrupt decisions to do it all on the “cheap”.
Unfortunately, there are many who comment here who do not care to discuss credible information. . . it’s far too easy to blame “everything” on a President who has been in office less than 2 months.
Ray W. says
About 10 years ago, I watched a documentary focusing on the man who formulated a fracking compound that revolutionized that facet of the oil exploration industry. Seeking financing to research new compounds, he approached numerous energy companies. All turned him down. W’s energy agency provided the money needed for the research and the energy boom was on. During the Nixon administration, we peaked at about 10 million barrels of crude oil per day. Every succeeding administration saw dwindling production figures, until Obama took office. While the initial credit must go to W for funding the research, Obama never stood in the way of fracking. I know people will complain about leases of federal land, but the answer to that is simple. We have large shale oil formations in Montana, New Mexico, Colorado and other areas of the country. But, shale oil fracking needs a lot of water and easy access to the land. If an oil company has to choose between paying a North Dakota rancher whose land abuts a paved highway or to build a road 50 miles from the closest paved highway onto, for example, a New Mexico federal site that has shale oil deposits, the oil company will always choose the North Dakota rancher. Simple supply and demand. Absent a pipeline to the drilling site, which doesn’t exist in New Mexico, you have to pay a New Mexico truck driver to drive down the highway, turn off the highway and drive 50 miles to pick up the oil from the wellhead and drive it all the way back to the closest railhead and offload it into storage tanks until the next train arrives to take the oil to the closest pipeline. North Dakota has an existing rail system to handle transport of crops such as winter wheat. New Mexico simply lacks the infrastructure to do that cheaply. Drill a hole in North Dakota and a truck driver can drive right up to the site just off a paved highway and transport the oil to a nearby railhead. All the federal leases in the world mean nothing if it costs too much to find water to frack with and transport the oil long distances by truck to a rail terminus. The North Dakota rancher makes money, the oil company make money, the truck driver makes money and the train company makes money and it is still cheaper to drill in North Dakota than in New Mexico, because the infrastructure just does not exist in New Mexico. Texas already has the oil wells and the infrastructure, including pipelines, paved roads and rail lines, in place, so Texas oil with existing wells only had to redrill the old wells using the new horizontal drilling techniques and fracking compounds and oil production boomed in the Permian shale oil fields. Same for the old oil wells in the Marcellus shale oil fields in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois. With the increased crude oil production came increased natural gas production. During the Obama years, natural gas production rose almost 30%. Since we had zero liquified natural gas export capacity in the lower 48 states, we had a glut of natural gas, which lowered the cost of energy for manufacturing. During the Obama years, we built new steel mills that use natural gas instead of coal to make low-grade steel from used cars and other forms of recycled steel. We began manufacturing appliances in America again because forming the steel used in appliances had become less expensive with the low natural gas prices energy; the Chinese manufacturers simply could not compete. We added nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs of all types during the Obama years simply because of the availability cheap energy. Chevrolet shut down a manufacturing facility in Canada and moved it to America to make Camaros, citing cheap energy as one of the major reasons for the move. None of this was reported on the faux news networks. The energy boom continued during the Trump administration, though oil companies continued to drill in North Dakota instead of New Mexico, despite the existence of long term leases on federal lands in New Mexico. Oil companies will always chose to pay less to get the same amount of oil out of the ground. The so-called conservatives simply cannot be relied on to point this out. Cheniere Energy bet the farm on building a brand-new natural gas liquifaction facility at Sabine Pass, LA, and another at Corpus Christi, TX, committing some $30 billion to the effort. The Obama administration did nothing to slow it down. Cheniere Energy was the first company in the lower 48 to begin exporting liquified natural gas, beginning in 2016. Multiple other companies were right behind Cheniere Energy, with permits issued by the Obama administration. We now export liquified natural gas to Europe, Asia and many other destinations. Obama was the energy president, not Trump. Trump simply built on what Obama’s administration approved. The Trump administration never had to approve the permits because they had been issued during the Obama years. W. deserves credit for the foresight to fund the research, too.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Wait a minute… Who are these dudes on the Public Service Commission who are gonna stick it to us is what I wanna know.. I shall do my research unless somebody has all their names and who they are buddy buddy with and who owes who what because that’s the only way to try to STOP FPL from getting their thieving mouth watering rate increase ( or any Florida governed utility) from growing into even bigger corporate thieves than they are now. Am I missing something?
@Calling Flagler county:
“…Please urge your legislators to vote NO on SB 856/HB 839, SB 1008/HB 761, SB 1128/HB 919, and SB 1236/HB 617.
SB 856/HB 839 – State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulations by Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) retroactively prohibits local governments from passing any law, ordinance, regulation, policy, or resolution that prohibits, restricts, or requires the construction, expansion, upgrading, or repair of energy infrastructure. The bill also preempts to the state all regulation over the construction of “energy infrastructure,” which is broadly defined to include any infrastructure involved in the production, import, storage, or use of energy (drilling oil wells, solar panels, the location of gas stations, and more)…”