Power Less

Really.  It’s not their fault.


The good people at Florida Power & Light work hard at making sure your electricity bill is as low as it can possibly be. 


So efficient and consumer-minded is our electricity provider, Fortune magazine named its parent company one of “America’s Most Admired Companies.”   I know you will beam with pride for the home team when you open your next few monthly bills.


Or not.


Because come August, odds are your bill will be higher.  The actual increase is predicted to be 16% higher, should Florida’s Public Service Commissioners approve the rate hike request.   And by law, FP&L is entitled to pass on fuel price increases.  Your humble utility does not and cannot make a profit on fuel, as its spokespeople said over and over and over this past week, as the probable rate hike made big news. 


But its company can and does make a profit.  A pretty good one for the times we’re in: $1.3 billion profit last year on $15.2 billion in revenue.  That’s a bit more than 8 ½ percent profit margin.


Its shareholders have to love that.  


In fact, at the company’s annual meeting a few weeks ago, FP&L’s CEO is quoted as saying “FPL Group…is well-positioned for attractive, above-industry-average long term growth.”  Besides its 4 ½ million customers in Florida, FP&L’s parent company is an energy-industry force in 27 states.


You have to be happy for a company that’s profitable these days. 


Or not.


Because that  company with the enviable profit margin is the only one allowed to sell you an essential product, and it is passing on to you the full cost of its higher fuel costs, plus charging you to subsidize its investment in alternative energies, plus charging you for the costs of building new nuclear facilities.  


So when you sit at the kitchen table and talk about where/how to cut back to absorb the spike in your grocery bills, gas bills, electrical bills, insurance costs, etc., ask yourself: what would Lewis Hay III do?


Lewis Hay the Third is the aforementioned FP&L CEO.


I’m not sure what kind of electricity bill the Hay household receives every month; I am relatively sure he doesn’t stress about how he’ll pay it.  Hay earns, in salary and benefits, somewhere between 6 ½ to 7 million dollars a year.  Adding a few hundred dollars to his electricity bill in the coming year probably won’t be an issue. 


FP&L’s parent company also pays for Hay’s country club membership, regular luncheons, security for his home and his personal financial advisor.   


Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t begrudge Mr. Hay or anybody as much money as one can earn.   Ditto for FPL’s investors.


But something is terribly wrong here.


Maybe it’s the heat?  I just raised the thermostat a bit to save a few dollars.




One Response

  1. Greed, for lack of a better word. is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts thru, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms, has marked the upward surge of all mankind. Greed placed the FPL’s of the nation where they are today!!!

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