AIF sides with FPL in rate case, makes history
AIF is making history -- and political waves -- today, intervening for the first time in a rate case on behalf of a utility company. FPL wants to raise its rates, and AIF has submitted a petition to intervene in favor of FPL, whose rate increase request is under consideration by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). (Download AIF_Petition to Intervene)
FPL officials say they need the revenue from higher rates to harden infrastructure against hurricanes and build hurricane reserves that are used after storms to ensure minimal power disruption to customers. And they say the $12.40 increase on the base rate of a typical 1,000 kilowatt-hour residential FPL bill would be offset by a roughly $17 decrease in the fuel charge in 2010 (that's based on FPL projections for better fuel efficiency). The result: A net savings of $5 per month.
FPL leaders also say the investment in better infrastructure will create jobs in the short term and lower rates over time.
Still, Attorney General and aspiring governor Bill McCollum has called the proposed hike "excessive" But AIF president Barney Bishop begs to differ. (FPL senior VP Ed Tancer sits on AIF's board...)
"We believe no business can continue to invest in modernizing its infrastructure without periodically adjusting its fees or rates," said AIF president Barney Bishop. “Florida knows all too well the fury of Mother Nature and has experienced the impact and disruption of power during hurricane season. ... FPL’s rate proposal would be used to harden infrastructure against hurricanes while building up hurricane
Bishop pointed out that FPL’s rates are now among the lowest of the state’s 54 utilities, and it has not received a base rate increase in more than 25 years.
“The company has demonstrated exemplary efforts in fuel efficiency by making its power plants among the cleanest in Florida and nationwide, which has saved its customers nearly $3 billion in fuel costs since 2003," Bishop said.