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Florida Municipals Working to Keep Electricity Affordable

Jacob Williams's picture
General Manager and CEO, Florida Municipal Power Agency

Jacob Williams is General Manager and CEO of Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA). FMPA's mission is to provide low-cost, reliable and clean power plus value-added services to its...

  • Member since 2020
  • 2 items added with 1,542 views
  • Jul 1, 2022
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We all need electricity. It’s important to our quality of life, particularly in Florida. That is why the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is focused on its mission to provide low-cost, reliable and clean power.

 

High Costs Significantly Impact Floridians

Many people are struggling financially, due to high prices. The average American family will spend an additional $3,000-$4,000 on energy this year, including gasoline and electricity. In addition, food prices are up, and inflation is at a 40-year high. Energy prices are a big driver.

While the impacts are felt across the nation, this energy crisis uniquely impacts Floridians. We get 75% of our electricity from natural gas, and use more electricity per family than most other states, due to the heat and humidity. In fact, residential bills in Florida are already 15-40% higher than a year ago as we reach peak summer demands.

This creates challenges for our customers, as Florida has large fixed- and low-income populations. With income 10% lower than the national average, many Floridians must decide what to cut from their monthly budget to cover the increased cost of power.

 

Managing Costs

FMPA is an Orlando-based wholesale power agency owned by 31 municipal electric utilities in Florida. Our efforts impact 2.7 million Floridians or approximately 12% of the state’s population. We don’t take this responsibility lightly.

We’re doing everything we can to manage our costs to keep power bills as affordable as possible. This include selling excess power generation to other cities, paying for natural gas at discounted rates, operating highly available and efficient power plants, and refinancing debt.

These efforts saved our members more than $32 million in 2021 and are expected to save an additional $24 million this fiscal year. However, this won’t fully offset the $130 million increase in fuel costs. Therefore, we must work to find additional cost-saving measures, including fixed-price natural gas strategies to protect customers from high electricity bills in the future.

 

Balancing Reliability and Clean Energy Transition

While customers are focused on affordable power, they also need it to be reliable and want it to be clean. That’s why natural gas will continue to be a foundational part of Florida’s energy mix.

Approximately 2-3% of Florida’s energy comes from solar, and that number is expected to grow to 10% in the coming years. However, most of the state’s energy will still be generated using natural gas because it is reliable, efficient and a relatively clean fuel source. It also serves as a backup to power our homes when the sun doesn’t shine – primarily at night, on cloudy days and during summer afternoon thunderstorms.

This does not mean we are not committed to clean energy. FMPA has taken steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including efforts to increase solar to 7% of its energy mix by 2027 and retiring coal-fired power plants.

 

Nation Needs Affordable Natural Gas

Energy prices are expected to remain high for the foreseeable future. That’s why our nation needs to increase natural gas supply and pipelines to protect customers from a financial burden and keep up with national and international demand.

The U.S. has the energy resources to provide affordable electricity for all its citizens, with excess energy for the global market. We only need the will to do it. Until then, FMPA will work tirelessly on behalf of its members to provide power as affordably as possible, while keeping it reliable and responsibly transitioning to clean resources.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 1, 2022

Thanks for sharing, Jacob. This is such a compelling and important topic, which is why a little birdie suggests maybe we'll hear more from Jacob on this topic shortly on the Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast.

Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app now so you don't miss it!

Jacob Williams's picture
Thank Jacob for the Post!
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