Changes may be coming to the way Floridians receive their electricity.

Changes may be coming to the way Floridians receive their electricity.

State leaders and powerful business groups are trying to kill a

proposed constitutional amendment that would lead to major changes in the way Floridians get electricity.

Opponents, including Attorney General Ashley Moody, legislative

leaders, business groups and utilities, filed 13 briefs late last week at the Supreme Court arguing that the proposal should be blocked from going on the November 2020 ballot.

The briefs were the latest batch of arguments about the proposal, which would uproot the long-established regulatory structure that leads to

residents and businesses in much of the state receiving electricity from four utilities: Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power.

The proposal, backed by a political committee known as Citizens for Energy Choices, calls for creating “competitive” electricity markets in which customers would have the right to choose electricity providers or to produce their own power. Supporters, including companies that want to supply electricity in Florida, point to a similar structure that Texas has used for two decades.

But the opponents contend that the measure should never reach the ballot because it violates legal standards for citizens’ initiatives, such as tying together multiple subjects in a proposed constitutional amendment. A brief filed Friday by the Senate alleged that the initiative includes a “Frankenstein’s Monster of policies.”

In part, those arguments stem from the effects of the proposed amendment on FPL, Duke, Tampa Electric and Gulf Power, which are known in the industry as investor-owned utilities, or IOUs. The amendment would limit the companies to building, operating and repairing electrical

transmission and distribution systems, a far-smaller role than they now play in generating, transmitting and selling power.

The Supreme Court plays a gatekeeper role in deciding whether citizens’ initiatives go before voters. The court is scheduled to hear arguments on the Citizens for Energy Choices initiative Aug 28. If justices sign off, Citizens for Energy Choices appears to have a decent chance of getting on the ballot. As of Monday afternoon, it had submitted 325,445 valid petition signatures to the state and would need to submit a total of 766,200 to be able to go before voters.

(1) comment

ke4mcl

Personally I wish we could see something on the ballot to adopt FPL down here. Why should I be paying for a man in the middle...HPS

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