Customers react to Florida Power and Light's proposed rate hike

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 18:57:14-05

No one is immune to a potential FPL rate hike. Not even Cindy Davis.

She's an FPL customer, but she installed a solar power system last year in the hope of lowering her energy bill - and it's worked.

“From $178 to $200 down to anywhere between $14 to $78 a month,” she says.

Now Cindy's lower bills could see a slight uptick - if the proposal FPL is pushing goes through.

It all has to do with the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew - which FPL says caused more than $300 million in damage to their system state wide.

The company says state policy dictates that the cost of that recovery has to be passed on to customers.

“We're looking at a temporary increase in customer's monthly bills by an average of about $3.36 a month," says FPL spokesperson David McDermitt.

People we spoke with admit it doesn't sound like much, but when you add it to a $7 hike that just went into effect January 1 - it adds up.

“To some people that could break them, you know,” says FPL customer Brandi Luff.

They also tell me the principle behind this latest hike is frustrating.

“We're having to deal with it when we didn't get a lot of damage here,” Davis says.

“They're just getting money from on people that really had no part in it.”

We posed those concerns to McDermitt.

“There have been numerous storms in the past that have impacted largely South Florida, and by the same token, all of our customers throughout the state were required to pay," he says.

Upset customers say they aren't buying it.

“They think that they can maybe just do what they want to do and see if people will take it,” Luff says.

“We'll fight them,” Davis says. “That's all. We'll just keep fighting.”

Another question many customers have - we haven't had a storm hit Florida in 10 years, so why couldn't the company dip into reserves?

FPL tells us as of 2010, the state doesn't allow them to use customer funds to create a storm reserve.

The company also says if the increase does go through, customers’ bills will still be among the lowest in the country.

The increase would come in March and would last for 1 year, pending approval.