Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Biscayne Park votes down early FPL franchise renewal; transmission lines contentious

The Biscayne Park Village Commission reversed course during the March 3rd second reading of a resolution calling for early renewal of a 30-year agreement with FPL that villagers said would unnecessarily lock them into a franchise deal with FPL over the use of the electric power distribution grid and placement of transmission lines in the community.

After having voted previously 3-2 in favor of the agreement, the commission voted against the deal during its March 3rd commission meeting, opting instead to wait until the April 2010 renewal date of the current FPL franchise agrement before taking final decision, according to a story appearing in the Miami Herald today.

According to the Herald story, one of Biscayne Park's biggest concerns has been "whether FPL should be allowed to put up transmission lines in the village without the consent of residents."

Commissioner Steve Bernard told the paper that postponement will allow village staff to negotiate the contract and perhaps eliminate the part that would allow the utility to build transmission lines in the village when it sees a need. FPL spokesperson Sharon Bennet said that franchise agreements give FPL the right to construct and maintain electrical facilities within municipal boundaries.

According to the Herald report:
The issue of transmission lines sparked concern several years ago when FPL announced it needed to build lines -- requiring 80-foot concrete poles with six-foot-wide bases -- in the area.

Residents in Biscayne Park, North Miami, El Portal and Miami Shores opposed the installation. Ultimately, the route chosen by FPL mainly affected residential neighborhoods in North Miami.

The issue prompted state Rep. Ronald Brisé to sponsor a legislative bill that would require FPL to notify cities if they are to be affected by the building of transmission lines. If passed, the bill would allow cities to challenge the placement of the lines and request a hearing from the Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities. The first reading of the bill took place March 3.
The full Herald story is available online, here.

Stop FPL previously posted on the Biscayne Park franchise agreement with FPL, here.

And, on the legislative bill introduced by state Rep. Ronald Brisé, here.

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