The savings stem from lower-than-expected costs for natural gas to fuel power plants. Utilities are required to pass along savings to customers when fuel costs drop, but the money typically goes to customers gradually.
Opponents contended the program would have costs and financial risks for the vast majority of customers who would not participate. As an example, credits received by SolarTogether participants would come from money that all customers pay to cover power-plant fuel expenses.
FPL customers would be able to voluntarily pay more on their electric bills to finance the 20 solar-plant expansion and would receive credits that would result in them getting a “payback” in about seven years.
The Florida Public Service Commission approved proposed rules to carry out the law, which is expected to lead to residents and businesses paying more in their electric bills for storm-protection projects.
Utilities already have underground power lines in some areas, including Palm Coast. A key part of the law changes how underground power-line projects are financed, a change that could lead to more projects — but also higher bills for utility customers.
FPL alleged that the telecommunications company did not pay about $20 million owed for 2017 and 2018. The companies have had what is known as a joint-use agreement since 1975 that has allowed them to share poles.
The proposal, backed by Citizens for Energy Choices, calls for creating “competitive” electricity markets in which customers would have the right to choose electricity providers or to produce their own power.
The issue involves hundreds of millions of dollars a year in savings from a federal tax overhaul and an estimated $1.3 billion in costs of restoring power after the 2017 hurricane.
A key part of the bill would change the way underground power-line projects are financed, a change that could lead to more projects — but also higher bills for utility customers.
FPL over the years has shifted away from using coal and oil to fuel power plants and relies heavily on natural gas, nuclear and, increasingly, solar.