Orlando Utilities Commission braces for loss if its biggest customer: Vero Beach

InsideVero editor’s note: Why has the OUC board of directors agreed to accept $20 million to release Vero Beach from its long-term power purchase agreement, even though the utility’s administrators believe damages will far exceed $20 million?

Reportedly, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and told him the OUC needed to find a way to help make it possible for Florida Power and Light to acquire Vero Electric. Dyer sits on the board of the OUC and appoints members to the governing body. One can only imagine how much money FPL will be contributing to Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign, as well as to political action committees and electioneering communications organizations supporting him.

As the utility giant is doing across the state, FPL has also used its considerable financial resources to buy influence at City Hall. Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes were all elected with considerable financial support from FPL.  In the current race, FPL has invested no less than $50,000 to support political newcomer Val Zudans and to aid Howle in his bid for re-election. Sadly, these politicians are not committed to serving the best interests of their constituents. Rather, the are beholden to the state’s largest investor-owned utility.

The following story about the OUC and Vero Beach was recently published by the Orlando Sentinel. 

KEVIN SPEAR/ORLANDO SENTINEL

Orlando’s biggest electricity customer — the city of Vero Beach — is getting ready to pull the power plug.

It’s a potential hit for the city-owned Orlando Utilities Commission, which is a significant funding source for city hall, paying for police, fire, parks, administration and other services that otherwise would be covered by taxpayers…

As part of dropping Orlando’s utility as a power provider, which is on track to happen next year, Vero is offering to pay OUC $20 million in compensation.

An OUC administrator previously told Vero Beach that such a settlement sum would not nearly cover Orlando’s potential losses from the exit of such a big customer…

However, OUC’s board decided this week to agree to a $20 million payment from Vero Beach.

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