Terence Phillips: Power Florida forward

We must preserve our right to choose our energy.

I own one of the 70,000 businesses across Florida that rely on natural gas to power my business. I support SB 1128 by Sen. Travis Hutson and HB 919 by Rep. Josie Tomkow because this legislation will ensure I have the power to support my business in the years to come.

I’m co-owner and operator of Something Fishy seafood restaurant located in Apopka. My brother and I work in the kitchen. My wife works the register. We serve up fresh, tasty seafood to folks in Central Florida. Natural gas is essential to my business. It helps us cook food more consistently, evenly and quickly.

Natural gas is a clean, efficient, American energy source. Natural gas is twice as clean as coal, making it the cleanest fossil fuel energy source that is available in the world, and it can be delivered directly to homes and businesses through underground pipelines. This direct use of natural gas achieves 92% efficiency.

Just as importantly, I can afford natural gas.

Before my wife and I opened up Something Fishy, I was a computer geek. I was an IT guy for over 25 years and numbers were my thing. When we were looking to create this business, reviewing the numbers to build out the restaurant and the costs of everything, I knew that gas had to be part of that equation.

Natural gas provides us with a savings of 25% or 30% in monthly recurring charges when compared to other energy sources. What’s more, natural gas appliances are less expensive than electrical appliances, and they’re less expensive to maintain.

The decision was easy. Natural gas is one of the most affordable sources of energy for Americans, which is particularly important to Florida families during this economic downturn.

It is no secret that restaurants are suffering in wake of COVID-19. Without natural gas, our utility bills would be higher than most can afford right now, forcing many restaurants to close permanently. Fortunately, natural gas has proved to be a lifeline to my business during this unprecedented time.

Natural gas has also helped us through hurricanes.

In 2017, Hurricane Irma was disastrous. Our electricity was out for days, but our gas was on. On my way to the restaurant, I passed dozens of other businesses that remained closed because they were without power. With gas, we were able to open the doors and serve up food to the folks in line.

We turned on the fryers. We turned on the stove. We made sure the gas was working, which of course it was. So, we started frying and getting food out to people. We sold out of food in two hours. It was incredible. Our food did not spoil, and we were able to feed the community during their time of need.

Irma proved that when a hurricane hits, Floridians can rely on natural gas because it is delivered through safe, underground pipelines to homes and businesses.

I’ve seen reports in Tampa and West Palm Beach of local governments considering bans on natural gas. In more than 20 other cities across the nation, bans on natural gas have already been implemented.

I cannot imagine what we would do without natural gas. That’s why it’s crucial for the Florida Legislature to pass SB 1128 and HB 919.

We must preserve our right to choose our energy. Banning natural gas would be costly and devastating. Simply put, a ban on natural gas would put businesses like mine out of business.


Terence Phillips is a co-owner and operator of Something Fishy seafood restaurant located in Apopka.

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