Today, at the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) quality of service hearing customers insisted that Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) receive no rate hike until they Pay their Fair Share of Federal taxes. The FPSC uses the hearings as part of the decision making process regarding FPL’s request for a $690 million annual base rate increase.
People demonstrated outside before the hearing began and then carried their personal stories inside. The demonstrators are part of the 99% economy who can’t believe FPL has the nerve to ask for more money from struggling families and strapped retirees. Especially since:
• FPL is the most profitable corporation in South Florida.
• NextEra Energy, the parent company of FPL, made nearly $7 billion in profits over the past three years while paying no federal income taxes.
• FPL/NextEra also received tax breaks of $42 million, for an effective federal tax rate of negative 2 (two) percent over the last three years.
• FPl/NextEra Energy’s lack of federal tax payments was within the law, but they spent nearly $13 million in lobbying fees and financing political campaigns.
So, while Floridians are still dealing with home foreclosures, high unemployment, and cuts to community services, FPL’s rate request would increase its base rate by 16 percent per year and boost its maximum profit margin from 11 percent to 12.5 percent. FPL says that consumers will find most of the increase would be offset by a reduction in fuel charges but that reduction is determined by world fuel prices on a short-term basis and the rate increase would be permanent.
“At the shareholders meeting I heard that NextEra Energy’s CEO made $22 million dollars in salary. He made more in one month than I made in my lifetime”, said Leo Solar a retiree. “The hard working people who make up the 99% are in dire need of a Robin Hood. We beseech the commissioners to be that Robin Hood and decline this rate increase.”