FPL Franchise Agreement Negotiation Offers Unique Opportunity to Move Miami-Dade County towards a Clean Energy Future
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2017
Miami, FL - Today, local businesses, community leaders, social justice, environmental and political organizations, university professors, clean energy advocates, activists and residents, hand-delivered a letter to Miami-Dade County (MDC) Mayor Carlos A. Giménez to urge him to negotiate a franchise agreement with Florida Power & Light (FPL) that will take our community into a 21st Century clean energy future.
Nearly 30 years ago, MDC and FPL enacted a franchise agreement allowing FPL the right to operate in public places/right of way in Unincorporated Miami-Dade County. According to the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter (or Constitution), franchise agreements ultimately require the majority vote of the electorate of Miami-Dade. The current agreement is set to expire and a new agreement is being negotiated between the County and FPL.
The letter - signed by more than 40 organizations and individuals including the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, The CLEO Institute, Sierra Club Florida Chapter, Catalyst Miami, Miami Climate Alliance, New Florida Majority, Women’s March Miami-Dade, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy - asks the County to negotiate an enforceable agreement with FPL that will support economic growth and improve the quality of life in Miami-Dade. The group is asking for strong consumer protections, expanded renewable energy production and increased spending to help the most vulnerable Miami-Dade citizens reduce their energy use.
The letter asks the Mayor to pursue commitments with FPL that include:
1. Prohibit disconnections on days above 105 degrees, also called “danger days” for their high mortality rates.
2. Produce 100% of the electricity serving UMSA from clean and renewable sources
3. Scale up conservation, efficiency and weatherization programs to help residents reduce energy use and affordably improve their homes’ heating and cooling systems, insulation and more.
4. The County and FPL will work together on resiliency measures and provide an annual vulnerability assessment for FPL facilities in MDC.
“It is a struggle for homeowners. How can we be more resilient? My home needs insulation and I have issues with my roof. As a grandparent raising grandkids on a fixed monthly income, I am stuck. I am unable to use my air conditioning. When is FPL going to step up? We need programs for homeowners to get our homes ready - I worry about hurricanes, heat, and cold fronts. I want to be part of the resilience movement, but can’t afford to”, said Ms. Paulette Richards, resident of Liberty City.
“As a homeowner in Miami, I am keenly aware that we are literally on the front lines of the disastrous effects of climate change. My husband and I invested our life savings into our home and we want to be able to retire here,” said Ana Tinsly, a homeowner in UMSA. “I do what I can in my daily life to protect the environment and conserve energy, like recycling and turning off the lights. But the truth is we need investment in programs, as well as a real political commitment to promote renewable energy.”
“As a resident and small business owner in UMSA for 42 years, it’s time for the County to prioritize renewable energy and energy efficiency over the business goals of FPL,“ said Leonardo Fernandez, President of M&G Industries. “The success of my small business, as well as my grandchildren’s future, depends on it.”
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy recently reported that FPL is the lowest in the nation for spending on low-income efficiency programs, at a mere $0.06 per customer.
While typical franchise agreements may not include provisions such as those requested by the Miami Climate Alliance, the challenge of climate change and its impacts require the strongest actions. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado is requesting $300 Million for flooding and stormwater projects and the City estimates costs of more than a billion dollars for pumps, seawalls, and other measures. The City of Miami Beach is spending $400 million on pumps . It is time for Miami-Dade County to follow suit and for FPL to to play their part in allowing customers to move towards a clean energy future.
About the Miami Climate Alliance:
The Miami Climate Alliance (MCA) works for equity and resilience by activating community through strategic action, increasing understanding of climate change and sea level rise as threats to all forms of justice, and building urgency around community well-being. A coalition of organizations and individuals, the MCA works to prioritize climate justice, mitigation, sustainability, and resilience in South Florida to promote a community that supports the well-being and prospects of all its current and future members.
For more information and to get involved, follow the MCA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MiamiClimateAlliance/ or email us at [email protected].