March 7, 2023
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Power and Light hauled in net profits of nearly $4 billion in 2022, but the giant corporation is still trying to pile extra costs on customer bills already this year. With attorneys from Earthjustice, Florida Rising and Healthy Gulf fought back this week at the state panel that regulates utilities – the Florida Public Service Commission – and won.
“This is a great win for the people of Florida, we stood up to FPL and won!,” said MacKenzie Marcelin, Climate Justice Director for Florida Rising. “As Floridians, we must stand up to FPL’s corporate greed and its inequitable antics to ensure we move to a better utility system in our state so it benefits us all.”
Some background: The average FPL customer has watched their electric bill go up by nearly a third (27%) since 2020. But FPL wanted to get more out of some of our wallets. After hurricanes caused damage across Florida, FPL came up a lopsided plan—charge all its customers for storms that hit south Florida, but only charge its customers in the panhandle for the damages of storms that landed there. This would leave customers in the panhandle unfairly overpaying for storm costs, to the tune of $27 per month for the average residential customer.
FPL’s move is part of a pattern where big, politically connected corporations try to secure “get-what- you-can-get-away-with” state policies. Too often, they win and consumers lose.
On Tuesday, the Florida Public Service Commission voted down FPL’s request to tack on the extra cost to bills in the Florida Panhandle. We argued that the Commission should adopt an alternate plan that divides the costs of all storms between all FPL customers, saving hardworking families in the panhandle hundreds of dollars each over the next two years. This time, consumers won one.
“We’re delighted to finally see some relief for ratepayers in northwest Florida, who already pay more than FPL ratepayers in the southern part of the state, said Christian Wagley, coastal organizer for Healthy Gulf. “This is one small victory within a larger system that still needs dramatic reform to bring some balance between monopoly utilities and their customers.”