Florida PSC approves 2-year FPL rate freeze

TALLAHASSEE -- Base rates paid by customers of Florida Power & Light Co., the state’s largest electric utility, will be frozen for the next two years under an agreement approved Tuesday.

The Public Service Commission unanimously voted for the deal FPL struck with consumer advocates four months ago. It was stalled by a dispute between the utility and Commissioner Nathan Skop over Skop’s objectivity.

Base rates can be changed through 2012 only if the company’s profit rate falls below 9 percent or tops 11 percent.

The commission set that profitability range for the company earlier this year when it approved only $75.5 million of a $1.25 billion base rate increase sought by FPL.

“We think this agreement is in the best interest of all of the parties involved, especially our customers,” FPL president and CEO Armando J. Olivera said in a statement.

As part of the deal, FPL and other parties agreed to withdraw all motions for the commission to reconsider the base rate decision.

The utility also agreed it will not appeal in court.

The settlement, though, allows FPL to pass on to customers costs for storm damage up to $4 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of monthly power use, which is about average for a home.