Saturday, February 14, 2009

FPL hikes electric rates, boosts shareholder payouts 6%

Florida Power and Light Co. has boosted electricity bills for Florida consumers by 6.2 percent -- even though fuel costs have fallen dramatically since the summer -- marking the largest increase in electricity bills by any utility in any of the five largest states in the U.S., reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

This, despite the fact that "natural gas prices have dropped more than 25 percent and oil prices have plunged about 50 percent since early 2008," the paper reported. And, despite other competing utility providers in the State having opted to lower their rates because of lower fuel costs:
Progress Energy Florida announced Thursday it would lower its rates, in part, because of the lower cost of fuel. FPL did a fuel forecast in early November that slightly decreased rates starting in January, though the combination of fuel and other fees still mean customers are paying more than they did a year ago.
The revelation comes at a time when New York Stock Exchange-listed parent corporation FPL Group has announced it is raising its quarterly dividend payout to shareholders. According to an Associated Press report, FPL Group announced that investors will see their dividends rise by 6 percent to 47.25 cents per share.

FPL Group profits jumped by 82 percent in 4-Q 2008, according to the company's year-end statement.

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