Justices Agree to Speed Up FPL Rate Case


FPL LogoArticle reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to speed up its handling of a renewed fight about a 2021 settlement that increased Florida Power & Light’s base electric rates. The court issued an order approving FPL’s request to “expedite” the case. The order set a schedule for briefs to be filed and said justices will decide later whether to hold oral arguments. FPL made the request Monday after a coalition of groups filed an appeal challenging the Florida Public Service Commission’s approval of the rate settlement. The commission initially approved the settlement in 2021, and rate increases began to take effect in 2022. But in a somewhat-unusual move, the Supreme Court last year sent the case back to the commission because justices said the regulatory panel had not shown why the settlement “is in the public interest and results in rates that are fair, just and reasonable.” The commission responded in March by issuing a more-extensive order approving the settlement. That led the coalition, made up of the groups Florida Rising, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Florida, to appeal the new order to the Supreme Court. FPL reached the four-year settlement with the state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, and other parties including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. After the initial approval by the commission, the FPL settlement led to a $692 million rate increase in January 2022 and another $560 million hike in 2023. The wide-ranging settlement also included such things as allowing increases in 2024 and 2025 to pay for solar-energy projects.