Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FPL Pac spending on '08 FL House, Senate races

The 2008 election cycle's campaign funding figures are now published online and it seems that the deep-pocketed FPL Pac (Florida Power & Light's own Political Action Committee) funneled copious amounts of funding in the primaries and general election to certain races for seats in Florida's Congressional delegation.

FPL Pac spending on elections, like its well-funded lobbying efforts once elected officials are actually in office, are designed to influence the votes of elected officials in favor of FPL initiatives, when they come before legislative bodies and the regulatory agencies that the politicians appoint and oversee.

According to campaign spending figures online at CampaignMoney.com, FPL Pac spent a total of $145,500 to influence Florida's congressional election races during the '08 primary and general election cycle, with key Democrats and Republicans alike on the receiving end.

Click here for a breakout chart that shows the Republican-Democrat lineup for FPL largesse during this past election cycle. As the chart shows, Florida Republicans running for Congressional seats in '08 received a total of $89,000 from FPL Pac, while Democrats were not far behind at a total of $56,500.

The chart also shows FPL Pac's top campaign investment of $13,000 went to Republican Vernon Buchanan of the 13th Congressional District in Sarasota, while FPL Pac funding totalling $32,500 helped the three next greatest recipients -- the incumbent Miami-Dade Republican triumvirate of Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Iliana Ros-Lehtinen -- to again secure their lock on the County's U.S. Congressional delegation.

Not to put a damper on Democrats who may be feeling in a celebratory mood following the Obama victory, but some of your party's greatest champions in Florida also lined up for the campaign largesse being doled out by FPL Pac. That includes top recipient of FPL Pac money in the '08 Congressional races, Debbie Wasserman Schultz ($11,000) of Broward, who was an Obama stalwart during the campaign; Miami-Dade's Kendrick Meek ($10,000), the Treasure Coast's Tim Mahoney ($10,000), Boca's Ron Klein ($8,500) and that self-declared "fire-breathing liberal" Robert Wexler ($7,000).

Again, Republicans lined up for FPL Pac swill took the prize with a combined total of $89,000, but the Democrats showed themselves rather eager to compete for FPL Pac funding this past election cycle. The only real non-embarassment on the Democrat side was Sen. Bill Nelson, who accepted just $1,000 from FPL Pac. Good ol' Bill ... he won't cave on offshore drilling and he apparently still can't be bought by FPL!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

FPL backed down by consumers over fuel surcharge

Great blog post at Sun-Sentinel.com by Michael Mayo on FPL backing down in the face of public pressure over it's "shameless request for higher fees to cover fuel costs in 2009."

We won't spoil the fun ... read the complete post online, here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Turkey Point shutdown: FPL wants customers to pay

A tiny hole drilled in a critical pipe at Turkey point in March 2006 cost FPL an estimated $6 million. Now, the utility wants to pass the bill on to ... its customers!

A report in the Miami Herald says in hearings before the Florida Public Services Commission, the state's utilities regulator, FPL has been claiming that the $6 million dollar shutdown was just part of its doing business and that customers should therefore foot the bill.

But, the consumer-oriented Office of Public Counsel "maintains that FPL should have been aware of the problems of the contract employee and should be responsible for paying the $6 million."

According to the Herald:
New information obtained by state regulators shows that the prime suspect in the case was a contract employee who drilled the hole because he was angry with the utility. According to a federal document, he had failed an FPL psychological test and had a criminal background that included charges of criminal mischief.

The new material also caused one Florida regulator to question federal nuclear safety standards because another employee knew about the drilled hole and didn't come forward until after the $6 million had been spent.

Many of the costs associated with that hole are unknown, such as the expense of the 1,100-plus interviews conducted by the FBI and a parallel investigation done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What is known is that while the power plant was shut down for the investigation and repairs, FPL had to spend $6 million to purchase power from elsewhere.
Read the full Herald story online, here.

UPDATE: The Herald has since put the story behind its "archive" wall, but you can still read the full story online, here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Palm Beach activists mobilize against FPL plant

The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports this week on efforts by members of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition stop a $2 billion natural-gas-fired power plant being built within the Everglades Agricultural Area.

The West County Energy Center project includes construction of a natural gas pipeline and plans for sotrage of millions of gallons of oil nearby as backup fuel.

FPL calls the plant "a Next Generation Clean Energy Center" ... which is to be built directly across Southern Boulevard from the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge on 220-acres purchased by FPL in 2005.

What's more:
FPL said that the West County Energy Center would pump almost 15 million gallons of water per day from the Upper Floridian Aquifer. Wastewater, in turn, would be shot 3,200 feet deep into the ground via a method called deep-well injection.

The plant will be fueled by liquid natural gas. According to court documents, the fuel arrives by ship at ports in Mississippi and Alabama, and it's funneled into an underground pipeline that runs across the Gulf of Mexico and the State of Florida. The pipeline was already 691 miles long. A new section of it — 34.26 miles — extends to reach the West County Energy Center ...
Read the full Broward New Times story online here.