Back in 2012 there was movement on the Treasure Coast for city-owned utilities to be sold off to FPL.
It took a few years of work for Vero Beach to be sold off to FPL so customers can enjoy cheaper rates.
Many Vero Beach customers were overpaying for rates and powerless to do anything about it. Only 40% of the Vero Beach utility customers lived in the city limits. The remaining 60% had no vote or say in the utility.
Fort Pierce has rates higher than FPL like Vero Beach did but 90% of the customers living inside city limits.
City Hall in Fort Pierce aren’t on board with selling FPUA to FPL because they get $6 million+ a year from FPUA through their franchise fee.
It is easier for City Hall to keep your light bills high as a hidden tax.
How FPUA Can Sell to FPL
It’s really up to the voters. If 60% of voters say yes to approve a sale to FPL.
Sec. 145. – Power to sell public utility plants.
The city commission may sell any public utility plant owned by the city and enter into contracts with the purchasers or owners of such plants for continued service to the city and its inhabitants, after the city commission has passed an ordinance in which is stated the terms of sale and purchase and the proposed contract for service, and after such ordinance has been submitted to the voters of the city and said ordinance has been ratified and approved by sixty (60) percent of the votes cast in such election.
Next it is up to attorneys to cancel the FMPA Contract with FPUA. The contract is a bad deal for the city residents as it perpetually renews itself for 30 years. Being locked in is bad for rates.
As local economist Dom Armentano wrote
It’s also no secret that the primary cause of the higher rates is the price that the city of Vero Beach is obligated to pay for the power it purchases (the utility itself generates almost nothing) under contracts with the Florida Municipal Power Agency and the Orlando Utility Commission. And it is the inability of the city to terminate these contracts (some of which run through 2043) without gross penalties and “stranded costs” that both sustain the higher rates and stall the proposed sale of the utility.
The value of that contract and the amount of the FMPA system FPUA owns will need to be settled to facilitate a sale. FPL paid $108 million to FMPA to buy Vero Beach out of the contract.
FPL Tried Before to Buy FPUA
In 2012 FPL came to the FPUA Board and made a presentation for the sale. However the board did nothing.
We currently have a public records request into this information and the discussion of it by board members.
We deserve to know why the board ingored the chance to give Fort Pierce residents cheaper rates.
Mayor Linda Hudson has long been in support of higher rates for customers.
“I, for one, like our city utility,” said Hudson, who said she would oppose any sale of FPUA. “I think our service in terms of repairing outages is superior to FPL because our workforce is local and live here so they can arrive to an outage a lot faster instead of having to dispatch someone from Palm Beach or some other place.”
This is a really naive and bizarre statement. We all know people with FPL who get serviced quickly during outages.
When Vero Beach sold to FPL the local employees were kept on by FPL. It’s simply another excuse in a list that is too long for why to oppress city residents with a near 30% poverty rate.