Faherty’s electric bills high, and likely to remain so

COMMENTARY

“When it comes carbon footprints, Faherty’s tracks look like those of Big Foot.” 

MARK SCHUMANN

Steven Faherty

Utility activist Stephen Faherty regularly publishes an online newsletter, “Utility Update,” in which he greatly exaggerates the rate differential between Vero Electric and Florida Power and Light. In bold, red type, Faherty present wild claims of savings, and of overspending, all based on obsolete numbers and on false comparisons.

Based on copies of Faherty’s electric bills, all obtained through public records requests, it appears the utility activist does indeed stand to gain from even a slight reduction in his rate. He is, quite simply, an energy hog. While the average residential customer uses approximately 1000 kilowatts of power a month, Faherty burns up four times that much power. When it comes carbon footprints, Faherty’s tracks look like those of Big Foot.

Despite Faherty’s consistently high power consumption, his rates have been coming down. More importantly, his likely savings in switching to FPL will be far less than one might expect based on reading his “Utility Update” newsletter.

In August of this year, Faherty was billed $604.46 for 4646 kilowatt hours of power, or 13 cents per kilowatt hour. His bill in August 2013 for 4775 kilowatt hours was $680.86, or 14.2 cents per kilowatt hour. In 2009, when Vero Electric’s rate peaked, Faherty was billed $711.33 for 4438 kilowatt hours. or 16 center per unit of power.

Faherty, FPL, the Press Journal, and the FPL-funded political action committee, Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow, all seem to want customers of Vero Electric to believe they will save 20% or more by switching to FPL.

So, how much would Faherty pay for 4646 kilowatt hours of power from FPL?  The exact amount it difficult to determine, since FPL assesses peaking charges and has a complicated tier of rates. Based on FPL’s current rate for 2500 kilowatt hours, Faherty’s bill for August 2017 would have been $498.65, plus a franchise fee to Indian River County of $29.92, for a total of $528.57. His savings, then, would have been $75.90, or 12.5%.

However, if and when FPL takes over Vero Electric, presumably within the year, the company’s rates will have gone up. A rate hike already approved by the Florida Pubic Service Commission will go into effect. Additional storm recover charges will also soon be assessed by FPL.  Accounting for those inevitable increases in FPL’s rate, Faherty’s bill next August, assuming he is a customer of FPL, will likely be close to 8 percent below what he paid this year.  That comes to a savings of $50 a month, or $600 a year.

While the savings is not insignificant, it is hardly to 20%, 25%, and 30% savings Faherty and the “FPL team” have led the general public to expect. Since the average residential power user consumes one fourth the energy Faherty burns, their savings will likely be closer to $12 a month, not $50. For customers of Vero Electric who live within the City, those savings will be offset with tax increases and/or cuts in services. Quite simply, the power deal Faherty has pushed for so many years now is not exactly a win-win.

From Faherty’s latest “Utility Update” –

From: Stephen Faherty <fahertydoc@earthlink.net>

To: ‘Stephen Faherty’ <fahertydoc@earthlink.net>

Sent: Fri, Oct 20, 2017 2:29 pm

Subject: Utility Update – October 20, 2017

·  349 Days  after Shores electric franchise with COVB expired (Nov. 5, 2016)

·   230 Days  after County’s electric and WSI franchises with COVB expired (March 4, 2017)

·   $156,753,000More paid in extra rates (since April 4, 2011, date of FPL sales offer!)

·   $4,750.09 – More paid per average customer (since April 4, 2011, date of FPL sales offer!)

·  $54,863,550 More paid by inside City ratepayer (since April 4, 2011, date of FPL sales offer!)

· $101,889,450 – More paid by outside ratepayers (at 65 % of revenue since April 4, 2011!)

· $199,000,000 – More paid in extra rates (since April 15, 2008, date of 1st OUC Contract!)

· $69,650,000 More paid by inside City ratepayer (since April 15, 2008, date of 1st OUC Contract!)

· $129,350,000 – More paid in extra rates by Outside ratepayers (at 65 % of revenue since April 15, 2008, date of

Faherty’s utility bills – 

2 comments

  1. I don’t know if Mr. Flaherty uses oxygen all the time, but my husband has a concentrator that is on and used in our small home (approx 1100 sq ft under roof). It does use some power & heats up the room it is in. But we set our thermostat at 78 or 79 degrees even in summer; do not leave lights on when we’re out of a room – nor computer or TV and generally use cold water for laundering and energy-saving setting for drying. I cannot imagine how we could end up with such a high bill as his.

  2. According information available on the Property Appraiser’s website, Mr. Faherty’s home, which was built in 2001, has approximately 2,800 square feet of living space. The issues is not how much power he uses, but how much he exaggerates what the savings will be by switching from Vero Electric to FPL. The other point I am raising with this commentary is that if Mr. Faherty thinks his situation in any way reflects that of the average residential power user, he is greatly mistaken.

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