FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hilary Lewis, Vote Solar
The CLEO Institute and Vote Solar Reach Agreement with Florida Power & Light in Rate Case
Agreement with advocacy groups includes disconnection protections and resilient schools pilot
Tallahassee, FL — Today, Florida Power & Light (FPL), The CLEO Institute and Vote Solar reached an agreement that will strengthen protections for customer disconnections and increase utility investment in community resilience. The CLEO Institute and Vote Solar had previously intervened in FPL’s rate case, opposing the company’s rate increase.
The agreement will double the number of days when FPL customers are protected from shutoffs during extreme weather by lowering the trigger temperature to 95 degrees and adding protections against freezing temperatures and hurricane-related outages, critical safety nets for a region of the state that is on the front lines of the climate crisis.
“Power disconnects can be a life-threatening issue — especially during a pandemic and as extreme weather events are worsened by a warming climate,” says Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director at The CLEO Institute. “Energy burdened Floridians need the ability to shelter safely at home, and this is an important step in FPL strengthening that protection for its customers.”
FPL also committed to investing $5 million to implement a new pilot program to deploy electric school busses, solar panels and battery storage at public schools that serve as emergency shelters for low-income communities, in addition to exploring federal and state funding. The pilot will explore the benefits of these cutting-edge technologies for schools, communities and the grid.
“98 percent of Florida’s shelters are located in public schools, creating safe havens for at-risk communities when the grid goes down,” says Katie Chiles Ottenweller, Southeast Director at Vote Solar. “This resilient schools pilot will be a laboratory for solving climate change’s toughest challenges, while ensuring that the benefits of a resilient energy system go to those Floridians who are most vulnerable to its impacts.”
The agreement did not include a commitment to 100% carbon-free energy, something both The CLEO Institute and Vote Solar have advocated for. “While we’re pleased to see additional solar and electric vehicle investments, we continue to encourage FPL to set an end date for polluting fossil fuels by establishing a 100% carbon-free goal,” says Ottenweller. “As Florida is ground zero for the climate crisis, we believe this is a critical step toward mitigating catastrophic rising seas and climate change, and one that we will continue to work towards.”
The agreement has been filed with the Florida Public Service Commission, as part of a multi-party settlement filed on August 10. The primary settlement — which the CLEO Institute and Vote Solar have now signed onto — is pending approval by the Commission, with a hearing set for September 20th.
The CLEO Institute is a 501(c)(3) working with communities across Florida to build climate literacy and mobilize climate action for a just and resilient future. Learn more at cleoinstitute.org.
Vote Solar is a non-partisan, national solar advocacy non-profit dedicated to making clean, affordable solar energy more accessible to communities across the country. Learn more at votesolar.org.