House Passes Florida's Renewable Energy Bill to Senate

Bill Would Give Florida's Utilities Power to Raise Rates

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted April 28, 2010

The House voted 83-34 yesterday to give Florida utilities the power to raise rates to fund renewable energy projects.

The bill, HB 7229, allows the state's investor-owned utilities to raise rates by as much as $376 million over the next three years.

The utilities will not be obligated to go through the rate hike approval process of the Florida Public Service Commission.

If passed through the Senate, the bill would allow Florida's four largest investor-owned utilities-including Florida Power & Light-to recoup the costs of renewable energy projects by raising rates by 2 percent this year, 3 percent next year, and 4 percent the year after that.

HB 7229 would cost utility customers less than an average of a dollar a month over the life of the projects, which would span 30 years.

The cost for Florida Power & Light would be approximately $1 to $3 a month in the first few years and average out to 50 cents a month over the 30-year time period.

Opponents of the bill question the practice of permitting rate increases in troubled economic times and claim that the bill risks putting smaller energy producers at a disadvantage.

Michael Dobson, president of the Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association, stated, "It's a start, but I don't think we're to have a long-term, sustainable, renewable energy industry from this bill."

Despite controversy, the bill now moves to the Senate floor.

Until next time,