When attorneys and consultants for Vero Beach and Indian River Shores meet with representatives from Florida Power & Light next Tuesday there biggest challenge will not be whether to characterize their talks as “negotiations,” or “discussion.” Rather, the daunting task facing all sides will be to arrive at a sale price that will work for everyone.
Like FPL’s experts, six consultants and rate experts hired by Vero Beach were charged with arriving at a sale price that will not lead to higher rates for existing customers. From FPL’s perspective, company spokespersons have said the price for Vero Electric’s approximately 3400 Indian River Shores customers needs to be close to $13 million. Any number more than that would, they say, lead to higher rates for FPL’s more than 4 million customers.
For Vero Beach officials, the priority is essentially the same, namely rate stability, but the calculations are quite different, and indeed more complex. If it were possible for FPL to acquire Vero Electric’s full system and take on service to all 34,000 customers, this so-called “full sale” would relieve Vero Beach of any and all contractual obligations to the Orlando Utilities commission, to the Florida Municipal Power Agency and its bond holders, and to retirees and former employees of Vero Electric.
With a “full sale” having run aground on currently insurmountable contractual obligations, Shores leaders and FPL executives are asking the City to consider selling off Vero Electric’s Shores customers base. Unlike a full sale, a partial sale presents entirely different considerations, as Vero Beach leaders seek to ensure that carving off ten percent of a 34,000 customers electric system would not hurt the remaining customers. More…