State regulators Tuesday approved a settlement on about $240 million in costs that Florida Power & Light racked up as it prepared for Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and restored electricity in some areas.
Dorian, a Category 5 storm that devastated the Bahamas, veered away before making landfall in Florida. But FPL, which supplies electricity along much of the state’s East Coast, including in heavily populated Southeast Florida, made a filing last summer at the Public Service Commission that said it spent about $240 million putting crews in place and making other preparations in case the storm hit.
Also, it said it restored electricity to 184,000 customers who lost power because of Dorian, as tropical storm force winds hit parts of the state.
FPL and the state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, negotiated a settlement that the Public Service Commission unanimously approved Tuesday. The agreement said none of the costs were “imprudently incurred,” though about $5 million was determined to be a “base” operational and maintenance expense.
Members of the Public Service Commission said the potential devastation from Dorian required FPL to make the preparations.
“If you weren’t ready for it, it would have been unbelievable how long it would have taken for us to get back up and running,” Commissioner Art Graham said.
In the past, utilities often have received approval from the commission to add surcharges to customers’ bills to cover hurricane-related costs. FPL did not ask the commission to allow it to recoup the Dorian costs through such a surcharge. Instead, it moved forward with a financing mechanism that involves using what is known as a “depreciation reserve surplus” to cover the storm costs.
Republished with permission from News Service of Florida.