BY MARK SCHUMANN
In hopes of clearing a path to an early January 2014 closing on the sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light, Councilwoman Pilar Turner is planning to visit all 14 cities now participating in the Florida Municipal Power Agency’s All Requirements Project. With the help of the city’s transactional attorneys and utility activist Glenn Heran, Turner reportedly hopes to convince the governing boards in each of those cities to grant Vero Beach a waiver to the group’s notice requirement.
Before taking off for distant cities, such as Key West, Turner might save some travel time and expense by heading first to Fort Pierce, where she will need to meet with the board of directors of the Fort Pierce Utility Authority. Turner might also do well to not take Heran along on her “goodwill tour,” given Heran’s earlier public statements about the FMPA being “an institution of inefficiency that cannot justify its continued existence.”
If Turners is unsuccessful in convincing the Fort Pierce Utility Authority board to assume additional liability on Vero Beach’s behalf, the “Yellow Brick Road” may end there, because the waiver Turner seeks must by approved be each and ever members of the FMPA’s All Requirements Project.
Without a waiver, Vero Beach will remain a member of the All Requirements Project through September 30, 2016, and as long as Vero Beach is a member of the All Requirements Project it will not be free to sell its electric system.
Though a late change in the contract between the city and FPL created a three-year window for a closing, FPL representatives and local proponents of the sale maintain they are hopeful of completing the deal done in early January 2014.