FPL, Lee County utilities seek approval for Babcock Ranch deal

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State regulators are considering a request this week from Florida Power & Light and the Lee County Electric Cooperative to approve a deal allowing FPL to provide electricity to the planned Southwest Florida Babcock Ranch development.

The proposal, filed with state Public Service Commission on Monday, addresses the designation of “territories” for electric utilities.

Babcock Ranch is a huge community set for development in a largely undeveloped area covering territories served by both FPL and Lee County Electric Cooperative.

The deal will allow FPL to provide electricity to a portion of Babcock Ranch that is currently part of the Lee County Electric Cooperative territory.

In addition, FPL would provide power in parts of Charlotte and Lee counties.

Lee County Electric Cooperative would take in exchange a largely undeveloped region in Collier County that is currently FPL territory.

“The exchange of these two parcels allows for a single electric service provider in each of the parcels and thus avoids the potential for unnecessary duplication of services,” the filing says.

The state’s Public Service Commission has the power to approve agreements over territory.

Earlier this year, Babcock Ranch Community Independent Special District proposed a new municipal utility to serve the planned Charlotte County community. The request spurred opposition from the Lee County Electric Cooperate, which led to the proposed deal.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.