Even in so called fuzzy math 4% does not equal 20%

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Make no mistake about it. Florida Power and Light is out to fool you. The FPL-funded misinformation campaign and attack ads now being run by Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow seem to be having an affect, at least on some.  One regular commenter to InsideVero, who lives in Indian River Shores, claims he will save thousands of dollars by switching from Vero Electric to FPL. A review of this commenter’s electric bills proves his claims, perhaps shaped by FPL-funded advertising, simply are not accurate.

According to records obtained from the City Clerks’ office through a public records request, this commenter’s electric bill for the month of August was $337.92 for 2655 kilowatts of power, or 12.7 per kilowatt hour. In 2013, he paid Vero Electric $385.92 for 2760 kilowatts of power, or 14 cents per kilowatt hour. In 2009, the year everyone wants to claim is still with us, he paid $540.94 for 3363 kilowatts of power, or 16 cents per kilowatt hour.

August 2009 – $540.94

August 2013 – $385.92

August 2017 – $337.76

Currently, Vero Electric’s rate for 2500 kWh is $317.02. FPL’s BASE rate is $268.33. However, FPL assesses peaking charges, so this individual’s rate may be higher with FPL depending on when he use your power. Also, FPL’s rates will be going up soon as a result of approvals the company has already received from the Florida Public Service Commission. Additionally, as a customer of FPL he will have the opportunity to pay storm recovery charges resulting from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, and for who knows what else might come along.

By this time next year, the rate difference between Vero Electric and FPL for 2500 kWh will likely be closer to $317.02 vs. $285, for a difference of $32 per month – and that assumes this commenter will not be using any of his power during peak times. At a difference of $32 per month, he stands to save more like $384.24 a year.

Interestingly, if he lived in the unincorporated area of the south barrier island, where utility activist Stephen Flaherty lives, he would pay an additional $20 or so a month as a franchise fee to Indian River County. That would leave a savings of $12 a month, or $144 a year, for a customer using 2500 kWh of power. That amounts to a savings of just 3.8 percent.

Everyone knows quite well FPL is currently funding a political action committee that is placing advertising claiming the rates savings will be 20 percent. Quite simply, those claims are outright lies.

Public support for the sale of Vero Electric is based on assumed savings of some 20% that simply will not materialize. With more than a little laziness, if not negligence on the part of the local press, FPL has done a masterful job of misleading the public about the supposed benefit of the sale of Vero Beach’s electric utility.

At a special call meeting to be held tomorrow at 9:30 the Vero Beach City Council is to consider a proposed purchase and sale agreement for handing Vero Electric over to FPL.  As of this morning, many documents key to the several-hundred-page agreement had yet to be given to member of the Council.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Good grief! Too bad we couldn’t have added a clause in this ‘sale’ to say if VB customers do not save a minimum of 20% on their electric bill we can opt out of FPL and go back to the way our system was. I’d like to be optimistic but getting harder to do every day.

  2. It’s fuzzier thsn you know.

    A lot of people are going to be sorely disappointed–and voters will feel conned–
    when they get their first FPL bill in 2019.

    Keep in mind the median City residential household uses only 890 kWh per month. (Median means half of households use more, half less).

    Back when the Referendum was held, FPL had some of the lowest prices in the State. Unfortunately for FPL shareholders, low prices don’t generally translate into high profits.

    When a for-profit utility has low prices, it generally wants to raise them to sustain growth of profits, and therefore, the value of its stock.

    FPL has a number of ways to increase prices, and they generally get what they want with the PSC.

    Over the past five years FPL been agressively raising fees and service rates across the menu through electric rates and customer charges, fuel charges, conservation fees, capacity fees, storm fees, special storm fees, environmental fees. Local jurisdictions levy taxes on top of all that.

    When the typical residential customer in the City gets their first FPL bill, they may not be able to even find the savings–about 50 cents. That’s right, about $6.00 per year.

    Why then all the hoopla about the Sale? It seems like it’s occupied center-stage for ten years now.

    There are people who will benefit, it’s just the average City resident really won’t.

    Because of the tiered price schedule, almost all the benefit of FPL residential rates–and the benefits will be substantial– will go to (1) businesses, and (2) owners of large homes–most of which are not in the City. They’re in Indian River Shores and South Beach.

    These beneficiaries can’t vote in a City election.

    Why is it then we have a City Council effectively controlled by FPL representing the interests of non-residents who can’t vote?

    You really have to ask yourself in who’s interests the FPL-funded candidates–Howle, Zudans, Moss-are operating.

  3. “You really have to ask yourself in who’s interests the FPL-funded candidates–Howle, Zudans, Moss-are operating.” This is a question the courts should be asked to consider.

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