FPL prez: ‘Politics trumped economics’by Dara Kam | January 13th, 2010
Florida Power & Light Co. President Armando Olivera accused utility reagulators risking customers’ electrical service by slashing Florida Power & Light’s requested $1.2 billion rate increase by at least 90 percent.
“Today, politics trumped economics,” Olivera told reporters as he left the meeting still in progress at about 6:15 to return to South Florida on the corporate jet.
Olivera said the Juno Beach-based utility will immediately cease modernization efforts at its Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral plants and halt work on a new nuclear plant that would have put 20,000 workers on the job this year.
The commission decided to limit FPL’s profits to 10 percent – far less than the 12.5 percent the company sought. Commissioner Nathan Skop said that FPL’s proposal was based more on a desire to increase cash flow than on substance.
That return on equity could be bad for the state’s largest utility’s 4 million customers, Olivera said.
“It’s conceivable our reliability will be impacted,” he said.
Olivera said the panel’s votes on more than 100 items today – still underway – coupled with a denial of Progress Energy Florida’s $500 million rate hike request Monday “sends a chilling effect on anybody who wants to invest in this state.”
Olivera said it’s too soon to say whether any of the utility’s 10,499 workers will be laid off but that “we’re going to be looking at every aspect of our operation.” He said that information would be revealed to employees before anyone else.
“The most immediate thing is not to spend money we don’t have,” Olivera said.