Sunday, December 18, 2016

Critics Say Florida Utilities Are Building ‘Unnecessary’ Gas Infrastructure for Profit While Customers Foot Bill

Powerline pylon (Image Credit: Pixabay, public domain) Click to Enlarge.
On an August 2015 earnings call, Kelcy Warren, CEO of natural gas company Energy Transfer Partners, acknowledged that “the pipeline business will overbuild until the end of time.”

Critics of Florida’s utilities say they believe Warren. They point to state regulators allowing Florida Power and Light (FPL) to build not only new power plants using fracked gas from as far away as Pennsylvania and Texas but also natural gas infrastructure that includes the $3 billion Sabal Trail Pipeline.

And Florida residents are footing the bill for these efforts. 

As Frank Jackalone, Director of Sierra Club Florida, said in a recent blog post: 
FPL has admitted that homegrown solar and batteries could do at least as good a job of powering Floridian homes and businesses — at competitive prices. To make matters worse, FPL is also using these power plants to try to justify building unnecessary gas pipelines such as Sabal Trail and Atlantic Sunrise.
Rising Rates but Not Rising Demand
In January FPL customers will see their utility bills rise by $400 million, to be followed by $411 million in rate hikes over the next three years.

Florida Power and Light, the largest utility in the state,  justified the rate increase in a prepared statement, saying it would “support continued investments in FPL's infrastructure, including the implementation of innovative technologies that help reduce and shorten outages, generate power more efficiently, and curtail fuel consumption and air emissions.” 

The statement went on to say that FPL expects to continue investing $3.5 billion a year in its infrastructure for the next four years. 

Detractors say that infrastructure is largely based on producing electricity from fracked gas, not solar, and that much of that natural gas infrastructure is unnecessary, based on demand.

Read more at Critics Say Florida Utilities Are Building ‘Unnecessary’ Gas Infrastructure for Profit While Customers Foot Bill

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