FPL Halts Billions in Capital Expenditures in Florida
Citing a negative decision on its rate proposal by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) as further evidence of a deteriorating regulatory and business environment, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) said it will immediately suspend activities on projects representing approximately $10 billion of investment over the next five years in Florida's energy infrastructure.
The projects would have created an estimated 20,000 direct and indirect construction and related jobs over the next five years.
FPL said it will immediately suspend activities on:
- Development of two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point beyond what is required to receive a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;
- Modernization of the Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral plants;
- The proposed Florida EnergySecure natural gas pipeline; and,
- Numerous discretionary infrastructure projects targeting improvements in efficiency and reliability within FPL's power generation, transmission and distribution units.
FPL will assess the cost structure of its ongoing operations and review other capital investments for appropriate reductions. The company expects to make further decisions on all of these matters no later than the end of the second quarter.
FPL Group Chair and Chief Executive Officer Lew Hay said: "We understand that there is never a good time to raise base rates. However, our proposal provided a unique opportunity to lower customers' total bills while simultaneously investing billions of dollars in our state for upgraded and more efficient electrical infrastructure – all of which would have significant benefits for our customers. Needless to say, we are very disappointed for our customers and the state that this opportunity appears lost.
"Our past investments have provided FPL customers with bills that are 10 percent lower than the national average and the lowest of the state's 54 utilities, reliability that is 47 percent better than the national average, and a power generation fleet that is among the cleanest and most efficient in the country.
"Florida's recent cold weather showed us the benefits of $10 billion in investments over the past five years in power generation and infrastructure, allowing us to reliably maintain service even while operating at near-maximum capacity over a period of days, but it also vividly illustrated the need to continue to invest in the electrical infrastructure. "…The PSC has spoken. Likewise, so have our investors, who have unfortunately seen what we believe is more than $1 billion of value in their FPL Group stock destroyed over the course of the rate proceeding. As a result, we believe that they do not want us to continue investing capital in Florida unless and until the regulatory and business environment improves. Many of those investors are retirees living on fixed incomes right here in Florida."