Another $150 million lopped off FPL’s $1.2 billion rate hike requestby Dara Kam | January 13th, 2010
Utility regulators just chopped off another $150 million from Florida Power & Light’s $1.2 billion rate hike request. So far, they’ve cut the staff’s recommendation on the utility’s rate request – $357 million – by more than half, leaving less than $160 million on the table.
The Public Service Commission split on the latest vote – how much customers should pay to let FPL save money in the event of a storm. They’ve already got $215 million in reserve in case of a catastrophic storm. And they’re collecting almost $2.60 a month from customers to pay for past storm damages.
FPL had asked for $150 million a year for five years for a total of about $650 million. PSC staff said they should get $50 million a year.
Commissioner David Klement, newly appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist, made a motion to reduce that to $25 million a year. That motion failed. Chairman Nancy Argenziano and Commissioners Nathan Skop and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens (also new to the panel) voted to grant the utility nothing.
“I’ve heard the voices of the consumers saying right now’s not the time to charge us for an unknown storm in the future. We can’t handle it right now. Current customers are still paying for the past storms. At a time when people can hardly pay their mortgages, I don’t think they can handle anymore. At this moment, my main concern…is that we alleviate what we can,” Argenziano said. “To say that we’re going to charge today for storms we don’t know are going to come to me is one I can take off the table right now and not have on the ratepayer.”