Rep. Dwight Dudley (D-St. Petersburg) is sounding off against a plan allowing utilities to charge Florida ratepayers hundreds of millions for out-of-state gas exploration ventures. He’s filed a bill to block the program approved by state regulators late last year.
Typically when people argue against fracking they point to environmental problems. But Dudley points to economic concerns with the Woodford Shale project approved by the Public Service Commission last year. It allows Florida Power and Light to invest nearly $200 million in partnering with an Oklahoma drilling firm, and then bill consumers for the gas it acquires. Dudley says the approach is un-American.
“Free enterprise and capitalism involves risk and reward,” Dudley says, “this is a shifting of all the risk on rate payers—consumers—they get virtually none of the reward.”
And Dudley is not alone. FPL argues the plan will save consumers $52 million over the life of the project, but the state’s Office of Public Counsel—charged with representing consumers—opposed the plan, pointing out the potential costs outweigh the savings.