Customers Should Pay For Renewable Energy, FPL President Says

 Julie Patel FPL President: Customers should pay for renewable energy writes in The Sun Sentinel that Florida Power And Light President Armando Olivera told the Sun Sentinel editorial board today that renewable energy projects don’t pay off for investors in Florida because the state does not provide incentives that exist elsewhere. It could also build a 75-megawatt plant in Manatee County, a 75-megawatt plant at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County and a 130-megawatt plant in central Florida. Each 100 megawatts of new renewable energy would cost typical FPL customers roughly 55 cents a month for the first year and the charge would decrease over time, according to the company.

Olivera said FPL, like other utilities, is aware of the threat to its electricity sales posed by independent renewable energy producers, homeowners and businesses that install their own solar systems and programs that reduce energy use.

“The landscape is full of companies that didn’t face the reality and they go under because they refuse to change or refuse to embrace the change. We’re in period where energy efficiency can make huge impacts, societal impacts…There may be a day where you can put a photovoltaic panel in your home and have it be cost-effective. You know, we’ll just have to adapt and figure out how we can make money in that space. In the short term, you’re absolutely right: It has the potential to cannibalize sales,” he said.

The Public Service Commission is postponing annual hearings on FPL’s customer charges next year, including about $5 billion to pay for fuel costs, until an appellate court rules on the utility’s request to bar Commissioner Nathan Skop from considering its proposals. FPL projects its monthly bill for typical customers will be about $97.87, up slightly from $95.07 now, when taking the fuel costs and other fees into account, but Olivera said that is a very rough estimate at this point and would depend on what regulators decide.

For those analysts wondering why FPL isn’t withdrawing the appeal to speed up the approval process for billions of dollars, Olivera said Skop may be one of four voting but he is the presiding officer for 11 FPL issues that are before the PSC. “So there is a whole range of things that can happen that may not necessarily be good for our customers or for our company,” he said. What we’re asking for is…fair treatment.”

If the court does not rule by the end of the year, Olivera said, “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

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