Apparently unaware of its own parent NextEra’s green energy move in Hawaii, FPL wants to frack Oklahoma, and meets some resistance from a newspaper back home in Florida.
If the Florida Public Service Commission wants to give electric utilities unprecedented permission to explore for natural gas or gold or other riches, it ought to at least require the utilities’ shareholders to assume the financial risk. Utility customers should not pay all of the costs while the monopolies keep all of the profits, which is exactly what Florida Power & Light wants the PSC to approve.
The editorial elaborates, including this:
FPL officials told the PSC this week that investing in natural gas exploration is just smart business. They said it could stabilize costs, avoid fluctuation in market prices and protect customers in the long run. Opponents such as big industrial power users and the public counsel, who represents ratepayers before the PSC, called it just another way for FPL to expand the company and make more money for shareholders while customers assume the risk. They’re right.
The newspaper asks for any such policy decision to be made by the Florida legislature, not the Florida PSC.
And it ends with this:
If the PSC allows FPL to start exploring for natural gas at ratepayer expense, you can bet Duke Energy will be next in line to seek the same permission. The ever-compliant PSC should at least require the utilities to create subsidiaries for natural gas exploration and put the financial risk on the company’s shareholders who stand to make the profits instead of on the customers who have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
That’s a sucker bet, since Duke’s CFO already said his company is studying FPL’s fracking proposal in preparation for asking for the same.