Will Vero sell power plant to FPL?

Voters deciding whether to sell power plant

Joan Barcus recalls the time last fall when the transformer behind her Vero Beach home caught fire.

 

"Everything was fixed within an hour and after that, two days later they called to see if everything was OK," she said.

 

It is because of that prompt service that has her reluctant to say yes to Florida Power and Light's offer to buy the city power plant for just under 112 million dollars. 

 

"As far as the city goes, I don't have any beefs with them, I think they do a good job,' added Barcus.

 

The total price tag goes higher when you consider FPL's promises to take over pension obligations and the costs of getting the company out of existing power contracts.

 

In the shadow of the plant, Glenn Hearn was wearing a "YES" shirt and holding a sign outside a polling place Tuesday. He's been pushing for an FPL takeover for years. He gets his electricity from Vero Beach but lives outside the city limits so he couldn't vote.

 

"Today we're 40% higher. My clients, my tenants are paying way more than they should," said Hearn. 

 

At some of the polling places, supporters on each side of the issue stood on either side of the road.

 

"We want to be FP&L customers. We want to enjoy the lowest electric rates in the state," said Dan Stump, holding up a "YES" sign.

 

Even council member Pilar Turner was out pushing for a "YES" vote.

 

"We looked at a partial sale, it failed technically, financially and for me philosophically," said Turner.

 

But fellow council member Jay Kramer says more information is needed to make sure a sale to FP&L is the right move.

 

"My biggest fear is we keep looking at this and the rates stay high," said Kramer.

 

The council voted 3-2 last month to enter into an agreement with Florida Power and Light to sell. That agreement though was contingent on voter approval.

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