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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Florida Power Trying for More of Your Money

Let's discuss Florida Power and Light (FPL) for a moment. (To my friends out of state: bear with this, you may find it has relevence to where you live, also).

Did you know that they are currently lobbying the state for an increase to your rates? If they won the state's approval, they would be adding only $3-4 a month to your rates (if you're in their area), so it seems pretty insignificant. However, the total $430 million increase is PHAT (Pretty Hot and Tasty) when you look at the overall picture.

The Office of Public Counsel (OPC) is a state appointed organization whose job is to represent the people against government blessed monopolies like Florida Power. (I didn't even know they existed!) The OPC is arguing that Florida Power needs only a $130 million dollar hike.

I understand that it takes money to run an organization, and FPL hasn't raised their rates in 10 years. But that's because they'd been making huge surplusses for a very long time, until the hurricanes hit last year. Suddenly they were scrambling, and they were forced to dip into their reserves. Sorry, FPL, but I have little sympathy. You'd been dinging your customers as much as you could.

For those of us who have TECO or Progress Energy, this applies to you as well. Because FPL sells power to both companies, and if their rates go up, ours will too. Also, if FPL gets the green light to raise rates, the others won't be far behind.

Friends of ours work for Progress Energy. They warned us all to go out and buy generators this year. "You think it was bad last year," they said. Progress has decided that they won't force their employees to race against the clock to restore power this year, as they did last year. They've also cut a great deal of their workforce.

Therefore, those of us who sat around with no electricity in muggy 90 degree weather for weeks last year went and ponied up around $700 for brand new generators. At this point, I will be very disappointed if we don't lose our electricity for at least a day.

So, if these power companies aren't going to be doing much to help us this year, why do they need an increase at all?

And for those of you who didn't know what phat was before, a word to the wise: use it judiciously. Don't tell your wife she's "phat" unless you want to be sleeping in the shed tonight.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Saurkraut! I hadn't even factored in the money we spent on a generator.

What I've been wondering is whose rates can I raise to cover the damage I incurred from the hurricanes?! (Fortunately, it's not much). Plus, our homeowners insurance cancelled us, and our new insurance is going to be significantly more!

It disgusts me that Florida Power and Light is able to go to the OPC and say "We've suffered a loss, can we just get the money from the customers, please?" and no isn't considered a viable option- it's just about how much. While, at the same time, my husband can't just go to his boss and say, our expenses have gone up, can I get a raise, please? He's considered lucky that the COMPANY didn't suffer too much damage so that he still has a JOB.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Anonymous,

You're absolutely right. Hopefully you have children, and can pass the charges on to them (just pattern this after the national debt). I'm planning on charging my children $3 for every meal. I'm still working on how to go about charging my dogs. I may lease them out as sled dogs, but the little one isn't much bigger than a rat.

Tabasamu said...

I agree with you, Saur, but there are many of us that can't afford that generator and I am NOT looking forward to another loss of electricity. So, I'm just making the best preparations that I can... water, canned goods, batteries, candles, etc. If it gets really bad, I guess we'll go to the Hurricane Emergency Shelters to get some airconditioning. Unless THEY are out of power, too...

bananarama said...

GREAT. I hadn't heard that Fla Power is telling all it's employees to chill this season. I couldn't STAND being without power last year. I can't believe they have the nerve to tell everyone its not a priority when we pay so much for our power. I know we're paying for the fuel, too, but they're making a lotta money out of us.

snicksnack said...

Yeah, I heard something about this. I didn't know there was a Office of Public Counsel, tho. I'm sure they'll get a rate hike. I just hope they get the smaller of both of them.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Very informative and helpful post.
Thanks for the information.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Thanks, Barbara! And thanks, everyone for your input. I appreciate you all. Even the grumpy ones. ;o)

Anonymous said...

ASEF

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

You are truly a Universal Woman; Leonardo and I are impressed with your range of knowledge. Please tell me you had some help with this blog.

I guess I live in a consistent neighborhood because my power never went out during the hurricanes. I was really thankful because those generator's roar like a Cutlass Supreme going down Greenwood.

I’m not sure whether FP&L or TECO serve Pinellas Park residents. I think its TECO. TECO and I aren’t friends though because I planted all these pretty Brazilian Pepper trees under the power lines and they refuse to come out and trim the trees away from the lines. I’m calling the county on this issue.

Thanks for keeping this blog interesting.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Mr Gator,

Thanks!!! Nope, no help. Just did my homework. I also read the AP stories as they happen.

I would have to do some research to see what you have in Pinellas Park. I don't believe it's TECO any more, but I could be wrong. However, FPL is surrounding us, but not a direct provider.

Still, what they are doing is providing back up power to us, and I understand that we pay them for power that we need if it's in addition to what we generate.

Also, whatever concessions they win for a rate hike will encourage other companies to do the same.

Saur♥Kraut said...

P.S. After reviewing the post, I saw that it was potentially confusing, so I revised it slightly. My apologies!