FP&L block attempt to secede from the grid

Fowler: wants to sue FPL

COCOA BEACH — Florida Power & Light has along history of anti-community, anti-environment behavior. Now Cocoa Beach officials say FPL has not responded to their request for information needed to make a decision on whether to sever ties with the power company and start providing their own electricity services to city residents.

With the city’s 30-year franchise agreement with FPL expiring next year, the city commissioners must decide whether to sign another long-term contract or to buy the company’s lines and equipment fromFPL and provide the service as a municipal electric utility.

City attorney Skip Fowler told commissioners that FPL has not provided answers to questions needed to help them decide how to proceed. A lawsuit may be the next option, he said.“I’m going to recommend to you that we file a suit,” he said. “I suspect this will get their attention, or some judge will.”

Several residents have protested the city’s move to consider providing electricity.

Lydia Vollmer said the city could not provide services as inexpensively as FPL.

“Without a doubt, it will cost me more to receive power from Cocoa Beach electric than if I was able to continue with FPL as my electric provider,” said Vollmer, whose daughter works for FPL.

The city began considering the change several months ago, complaining of poorly maintained or outdated equipment. Since then, FPL has repaired some leaning power poles and made other fixes.

“I find it a little coincidental,” said Commissioner Kevin Pruett, adding that, at the end of the day, “that’s positive.”

However, city officials cited a power outage on Wednesday that affected the city’s emergency 9-1-1 system. They said it happened as FPL workers who were making upgrades dealt with corroded parts.

But FPL officials said the problem was a broken insulator, not corrosion.

During the outage, the city’s backup generator fired up but did not have enough power, so 9-1-1 emergency services were temporarily switched to the county’s system.

“We are strengthening the feeder system that feeds the 9-1-1 system. This had been planned,” said Jackie Anderson, an FPL spokeswoman. Thirty systems state-wide are being strengthened, she said.

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