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Florida utilities’ lobbyists help raise your power bills

By   /   March 31, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Floridians, a portion of your utility bills are likely paying for a small army of utility company lobbyists to lean on state lawmakers for favorable energy policies — including higher bills.

SHOCKING: Florida’s largest electric utility companies are among the biggest political spenders.

That’s the implication of the political spending frenzy outlined in a new report by the nonpartisan government watchdog Integrity Florida.

The group’s findings are enough to make the average rate-paying customer blow a fuse.

According to the report, state officials have been catering to Florida’s four largest electric utility companies for years.

Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy (formerly Progress Energy), TECO Energy and Gulf Power have together spent more than $12 million lobbying the state since 2007 — spanning the governorships of both Charile Crist and Rick Scott.

Utility company campaign contributions tallied more than $18 million from 2004 to 2012. In that period, customer rates consistently increased and public officials routinely sided with agendas of the electricity firms.

“These four corporations registered, on average, one lobbyist for every two state legislators each legislative session between 2007 and 2013,” reads a statement accompanying the report.

“For the last five election cycles, these electric utilities were among the largest donors to state-level campaigns in Florida.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration rates the average retail price of electricity in Florida at 11.78 cents per kilowatt hour as of January 2014. That’s above the 11.10-cent average for corresponding South Atlantic states, but well below the District of Columbia’s 12.59 cents per kilowatt hour. Florida’s residential customers pay the most of any other grouping.

Florida’s utility sector is a regulated monopoly that critics often say offers little in the way of competition.

Contact William Patrick at [email protected]


William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.