Florida Power & Light Co.'s rate request before regulators this week includes millions of dollars in future plant property purchases, primarily new plants to add power generation for South Florida.
The state's Office of Public Counsel said FPL's rate case should be reduced by more than $100 million because customers should not have to pay a return to FPL shareholders for the cost of the potential sites.
FPL said Thursday that only $10 million of the properties' cost, or less than 2 percent of the increase, is included in its rate request.
FPL said the utility typically buys property ahead of regulators' approval to build plants to have it readily available and to buy it at the best price.
Properties in Hendry County, west of South Florida, and in Okeechobee County near Fort Drum, north of South Florida, are potential sites for natural-gas powered plants, according to testimony by Rene Silva, who leads the property purchasing team at FPL.
The properties, selected because they're near existing transmission lines, would cost ratepayers 10 cents a month, according to FPL.
Donna Ramas, a CPA and regulatory consultant testifying for the Office of Public Counsel, said a property designated as a "potential site" may not ever be developed. Because FPL has no expected date for properties to be used, they should be removed from the rate case, she said in her testimony.
Silva said FPL has a "clear plan" for the plant sites, whether or not they're in the utility's 10-year site plan.
To watch the FPL rate hike hearings, click on the camera icon at www.psc.fl.us.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times