Utility Ballot Measure Ready for Court Review

Posted By: Garnie Holmes Industry , Legislative/Regulatory ,

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would overhaul Florida’s electric-utility industry have submitted enough petition signatures for the state Supreme Court to review the ballot wording, according to the Florida Division of Elections website. The political committee Citizens for Energy Choices had submitted 79,132 valid signatures as of Wednesday, exceeding a 76,632-signature threshold that qualifies it for Supreme Court review.

The proposal calls for wholesale and retail electricity markets to “be fully competitive so that electricity customers are afforded meaningful choices among a wide variety of competing electricity providers.” It would establish a right for customers to choose electricity providers and would limit the role of investor-owned electric utilities --- private companies such as Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power Co. --- to constructing, operating and repairing transmission and distribution systems.

Two of the state’s most-powerful business groups, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, are opposing the measure, pointing to concerns that utility deregulation could lead to increased electricity costs. If the Supreme Court approves the wording of the proposal, Citizens for Energy Choices would need to submit at least 766,200 valid signatures to get on the November 2020 ballot.

Article reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida.