Power Company, Consumer Watchdog Clash Over Rates

Aug 29, 2016

Credit Ian Britton

The Public Service Commission is considering more than a billion dollars in rate hikes for Florida Power and Light.  The Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers, wants to see rates decline.

Public counsel J.R. Kelly has a number of issues with FPL’s request.  Two big ticket changes he’s pushing for—return on equity, and the equity to debt ratio—could reduce the company’s ask by more than a billion dollars.  But Kelly has more fundamental critiques as well.

“One is sales forecast,” he says.  “We believe that Florida Power and Light has under-forecast their sales for the future years.”

Lower forecasts could encourage regulators to allow higher rates potentially making the company more profitable.  FPL is defending its request before the public service commission.  It argues the increases are necessary and will lead to lower rates in the future.