I would like to thank Mayor Kirschner and Commissioner Atkins for having the backbone to question FPL and what they offered the City of Sarasota. I would also like to thank Commissioner Clapp for voting with the Mayor and Commissioner Atkins on the PACE-like amendment added by Mayor Kirschner before the vote.
Here is the franchise agreement signed by the City of Sarasota and FPL. FPL Agreement_20101130142902
Reposted from The Florida Independent
By COOPER LEVEY-BAKER 8/23/10 2:53 PM
The City of Sarasota meets this evening to further debate its ongoing negotiations withFlorida Power & Light over the possible renewal of the contract that guarantees the city a piece of Sarasotans’ energy bills in exchange for a monopoly on energy delivery within city limits. But one major difference of opinion could prove intractable.
FPL is insisting that the contract — called a franchise agreement — last 30 years, a time span Sarasota city commissioners are reluctant to embrace, given their expressed desire to increase the city’s usage of renewable energy. “Our world is changing very fast,” Commissioner Richard Clapp said at a May meeting. “Thirty years is going to be pretty different, particularly in the field of energy.”
At that meeting, the commission voted to propose a five-year franchise agreement, but a letter dated last Friday from FPL attorney Patrick Bryan (which you can read in full or download below) suggests the company won’t even consider that idea. “FPL cannot … agree to a franchise term of less than 30 years,” he wrote. “As has been explained previously to the City, FPL’s franchise ‘model’ is based on a 30-year term. A portfolio of short term franchises provides little or no benefit to FPL.”
Bryan’s missive comes on the heels of one-on-one meetings FPL held with city commissioners last week, during which the company made clear its insistence on a 30-year deal.
Asked what he thinks will happen at this evening’s workshop, Sarasota Mayor Kelly Kirschner says he thinks FPL will continue to be “adamant” on the issue. Kirschner points out that the city only makes up a tiny portion of FPL’s current portfolio, and suggests the company is mainly concerned that agreeing to a deal shorter than 30 years could set a “precedent” for its dealings with other municipalities.
No votes are on tonight’s agenda, though. “It will be gathering information,” Kirschner says. “If anything, there will be consensus to give direction to staff to pursue further analysis.”
We’ll have an update tomorrow morning.
This is a service to document everything pertaining to the City of Sarasota and their FPL franchise negotiations.
Here are the key points of the City Commission when they asked the representatives of FPL to take back to their headquarters what they would consider in the franchise agreement.
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