Cost of FPL's Hurricane Irma response could lead to a rate hike for customers

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - For many in Florida, electricity was scarce after Hurricane Irma.

“It was a little bit hot with the heat, it was 90 degrees inside,” says Nadia Fanta. 

One neighborhood in unincorporated Lake Worth was hit exceptionally hard.

“We didn't get it back until Thursday morning,” Fanta says.

Resident June Ferrante was left in the dark even longer. 

“We were without power for ten days.”

Florida Power & Light says the storm hit its system hard as well. 

“This impacted all 27,000 square miles of our service area,” FPL spokesperson Chris McGrath says. “Every piece of equipment was tested.”

When you translate that impact to dollars and cents, you may want to brace your wallet for impact.

The company says it's still calculating the cost of Irma.

It's a cost that may be passed down to customers in the form of a rate increase in the coming months.

“We have a very limited storm reserve, a reserve that doesn't fully cover the cost of a storm of this magnitude," McGrath says. 

The company says it's working to minimize the overall impact, but the news still doesn't sit well with some.

“Don't put the burden on us, it's not fair,” Ferrante says. 

“They should look inward instead of outward if they need more money,” resident Lynn Browning says. “They should use a little responsibility and quit wanting to put the blame on us.”

Fanta agrees it's not ideal, but she can accept it. 

“I know the bills have to be paid. They had a lot of crews down here and we know they were working hard trying to get things back for us.”

Nothing is final yet - FPL isn't saying how much the increase would be.

It would have to be submitted to the Public Service Commission for approval later this year. 

FPL says it could try to minimize the impact by spreading out the overall collection period beyond 12 months. 

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