FLORIDA ELECTRICITY COSTS SKYROCKET AS UTILITY INVESTS IN SOLAR
August 27, 2008
Florida Power & Light (FPL) customers are being hit with a 16 percent hike in electricity prices as the utility company invests more heavily in solar power. FPL's ongoing solar investment appears to violate a state law requiring utilities to provide power from the least-expensive available source, says the Heartland Institute.
Responding to loud complaints from schools forced to spend increasing shares of their budgets on steeply rising energy costs instead of educational tools, state regulators have taken the unusual step of imposing half the rate increase in August 2008 and the other half in 2009.
Residential customers also will be hit hard, says Heartland:
- Household electricity bills during the oppressive Florida summers can easily reach $300 to $400 per month.
- A 16 percent increase in electricity rates can add $64 per month to summer electricity bills, and $500 or more to annual household electric power bills.
- FPL customers already have the option of purchasing "green" power for $9.75 per month ($117 per year) from the utility's Sunshine Energy Program, but few customers have signed up for the program; most of the program's money has gone to administrative and marketing costs.
Moreover, the utility must pay four times as much for solar power as it does for coal power. Adding increasing amounts of solar power to its energy mix thus means FPL will continue to hike consumers' energy bills.
For all the additional cost, many wonder whether solar power will achieve its promised environmental benefit anyway, says Heartland.
Source: James M. Taylor, "Florida Electricity Costs Skyrocket as Utility Invests Heavily in Solar," Heartland Institute, September 2008.
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