The Florida Supreme Court says that the state’s largest utility can’t make customers pay for the costs associated with a natural gas drilling project in another state.
The court ruled 6-1 on Thursday that state regulators were wrong to permit Florida Power & Light to charge customers for its investments in an Oklahoma natural gas drilling project that relies on fracking.
FPL has said the investment would help it stabilize fuel prices and save its customers money in the long haul.
But Justice Ricky Polston, who wrote the opinion, said it was “overreach” by the Public Service Commission to give a green light to FPL’s plans because state law limits what costs can be passed on to customers.
Justice Charles Canady was the lone dissent on the ruling.
“We continue to believe the (Oklahoma) project is a smart long-term investment on behalf of our customers that will help us provide reliable electricity at low and stable prices,” said FP&L spokeswoman Sarah Gatewood. “We also believe the PSC was on solid ground in approving” the plan.
FP&L is “always looking for opportunities to improve the value we provide our customers and keep their electric bills low,” she added.
“Our typical customer bill is the lowest in Florida and among the lowest in the nation, and that does not happen by accident – instead, it’s the direct result of our forward-thinking strategy and long-term investments like the (Oklahoma) project that help keep costs down for customers over the long term.”