The state Office of Public Counsel is appealing a decision that would allow Florida Power & Light to collect money from customers for a project stemming from a saltwater plume that moved from an FPL plant into nearby groundwater. The Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, filed a notice Monday that it is taking the dispute to the Florida Supreme Court.
The notice, as is common, does not detail the office’s arguments. But the case centers on a Dec. 12 decision by the state Public Service Commission that would allow FPL to collect at least $176.4 million for the project. The Public Service Commission on Jan. 5 issued a formal order, which is attached to the notice of appeal posted on the Supreme Court website.
The South Florida Water Management District in 2013 determined that “hypersaline” water from a cooling-canal system at FPL’s Turkey Point complex in Miami-Dade County had moved offsite. FPL later entered into agreements with Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to fix the problem.
The Office of Public Counsel, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy argued that FPL customers should not have to pay for the clean-up project through part of monthly bills that goes toward environmental expenses.
But the Public Service Commission unanimously sided with FPL. The remediation project is expected to take about 10 years and cost an estimated $176.4 million, according to FPL numbers from December. Interest costs could push the tab to about $200 million.
Published with permission from the News Service of Florida