1. Commissioner Tuner was not about to agree with the length of the contract – 30 years. He asked for 5 years and the entire commission was in agreement. This was groundbreaking because no one has ever tried to negotiate this with FPL before. “Some of us won’t even be around to negotiate the next deal with FPL if we sign a 30 year agreement,” he exclaimed. Commissioner Atwell added, “With the technology changing as rapidly as it does, I think a five year commitment would be more reasonable.”
2. FPL has the Right Of First Refusal (ROFR). Which means that anyone who bids on a job with a city, FPL has the right to step in at the last minute and match that bid – not offer a lower bid – but match it. Monica Kennedy, Elite Solar, testified that she would never waste her employees time to submit a bid to the city when FPL can come in at the last minute and take it away from her.
Peter Laughlin, CEO of Echo Technologies. told the Commission that the ROFR would have a “chilling effect” on suppliers of renewable energy and the city will not get the best deal possible.
3. It was identified by the Commission and the officials from FPL that the franchise fees that the City receives from FPL are just a “pass through” from the rate payers via FPL to the City. “In effect, it is like a tax…where FPL has no skin in the game” stated Mayor Kirschner. Followed by Commissioner Turner stating that it was no different than if they raised the millage ratews and didn’t bother to negotiate with FPL.
4. Mayor Kirschner and Commissioner Turner took issue with the fact that in the agreement, FPL has the right to cancel the agreement without due cause, but in order for the City to cancel the agreement, FPL has the right to have their day in court and then is granted 6 months to make good if the courts decide that there is a problem before the City can be released from it’s contract.
5. Commissioner Atwell brought up the possiblity of the City deciding not to sign a contract with FPL and putting together a way to purchase their power from someone else. Or even start their own power plant…just like Gainesville’s municipal utility. She also went on to ask why after 30 years are they only being given two weeks to negotiate with FPL on the new franchise agreement.
For full story: The Nilon Report