Florida moves closer to deregulated electricity market

Nov 15, 2001 01:00 AM

Florida has moved one step closer to a deregulated electricity market. The state Public Service Commission voted in favour of a system that will take operation of the state's power lines -- including those run by Florida Power & Light -- out of the hands of the utilities and into the hands of an independent company.
Commissioner Michael A. Palecki said the PSC did what is best for ratepayers, utility companies and independent power companies seeking to compete. "We've done a lot to eliminate the risk to ratepayers and we've done a lot to allow markets to thrive in the state of Florida," Palecki said.

The commission voted to require the state's three main utilities -- FPL, Florida Power and Tampa Electric -- to come back in 90 days with a proposal to turn over operation of its main power lines to a so-called independent system operator.
The utilities had proposed forming GridFlorida, a state-wide regional transmission organization that would have owned and managed the transmission lines. But the PSC did not want to give up control over retail rates, which it would have lost to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under GridFlorida.

FPL spokesman Mike Haggerty said the utility will work with the PSC to come up with a model that will address the state's concerns as well as comply with the wishes of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which issued an order in December 1999 "strongly encouraging" utilities to form RTOs by December.
Commissioners said they believe Florida is still in compliance with the federal order. The PSC also approved allowing the utilities to collect $ 9 mm that already has been spent in forming GridFlorida, but how the money will be collected from customers will be decided in upcoming hearings.

Source: The Palm Beach Post
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