Nexstar Network Joins Coalition to Oppose FPL’s Predatory Expansion

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Nexstar Network, a national association which represents independent plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical residential contractors, announced that they have joined the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition. The coalition recently organized to oppose Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) entrance into the home services market including air conditioning, heating, plumbing, and electrical services.

Nexstar represents over 600 member companies and becomes the second national association to join the coalition. The other national association to endorse the campaign was Arlington, Virginia-based Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Coalition members also include the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) and all of its eight regional associations.

FPL entered the home services market using a subsidiary called FPL Energy Services.

“Nexstar was founded by members for members to help these companies succeed,” said Jack Tester, president and CEO of Nexstar Network. “FPL’s predatory practices go against everything we represent. For example, our mission is to guide and develop the service provider by advising them on best practices in the industry. To have a ratepayer-funded monopoly enter this space is not only a gross misuse of public resources but also creates an unfair playing field upon which even the best companies would be unable to compete. Therefore, we will do everything in our power to protect our member companies and ensure fair competition.”

https://www.achrnews.com/articles/139993-nexstar-network-joins-coalition-to-oppose-fpls-predatory-expansion

Florida Coalition Warns South Carolina Contractors about NextEra

Says Ratepayers & Small Businesses Will Suffer if Company Enters Market

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The MEP Coalition for Fair Competition (MEPCO) today sent a letter to the South Carolina Association of Heating & AC Contractors (SCAHACC) to warn them of the dire consequences if NextEra Energy enters the South Carolina market. NextEra Energy has recently expressed an interest in purchasing the failed state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

Even though the expansion for this facility was abandoned, more than 700,000 utility customers are still being charged for this project on their monthly bills. MEPCO claimed that this situation will only get worse for customers and small businesses if NextEra gains a foothold in that state’s energy sector.

As evidence of this, MEPCO stated that Florida Power & Light (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, has made numerous attempts to leverage its ratepayer funded resources to subsidize its private enterprises. In response, the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition was formed to oppose FPL’s predatory practices. In particular, FPL is currently using its public resources to enter the home services market including air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical services.

MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. Coalition members consist of the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SFACA), the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SWACCA), the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA).

FPL aggressively entered the air conditioning, electrical & plumbing services and contracting business using a subsidiary called FPL Energy Services. In fact, Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating is now promoting themselves as an FPL Energy Services Company. Left unchallenged, MEPCO’s argued that FPL will continue their expansion into home services improperly using extensive customer data, infrastructure and market power to decimate local businesses and dominate their markets.

This situation is not without precedent and recently occurred in Maryland when Baltimore Gas & Electric’s (BGE) entered the HVAC market as BGE Home. In that case, about 30 percent of locally owned and operated heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical service companies were forced out of business due to BGE’s unfair business practices.

MEPCO urged SCAHACC to contact their public officials and request that they deny NextEra Energy’s attempt to purchase any assets in their state. They stated that NextEra’s only goal is to profit at the expense of ratepayers and small businesses.

“We learned from the Maryland case so we’re forewarning the South Carolina Association of Heating & AC Contractors,” said Skip Farinhas, Vice President of SFACA and a spokesperson for MEPCO. “We don’t want them to look back and say, ‘We should have done something when we had the chance.’”

Read the letter here.

MEPCO Letter to SCAHACC

October 18, 2018

Mike Geddings, President
South Carolina Association of Heating & AC Contractors
1898 Calhoun Street, No. 4
Columbia, SC 29201

 

Dear Mr. Geddings:

We are writing to forewarn you of dire consequences if NextEra Energy enters the South Carolina market. Specifically, it is our understanding that the company has expressed an interest in purchasing the failed state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

Even though the expansion for this facility was abandoned, more than 700,000 utility customers are still being charged for this project on their monthly bills. This situation will only get worse for customers and small businesses if NextEra gains a foothold in your energy sector.

As evidence of this, Florida Power & Light (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, has made numerous attempts to leverage its ratepayer funded resources to subsidize its private enterprises. Therefore, we recently formed the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition to oppose FPL’s predatory practices. In particular, FPL is currently using its public resources to enter the home services market including air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical services.

MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. Coalition members consist of the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SFACA), the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SWACCA), the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA).

FPL aggressively entered the air conditioning, electrical & plumbing services and contracting business using a subsidiary called FPL Energy Services. In fact, Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating is now promoting themselves as an FPL Energy Services Company. Left unchallenged, FPL will continue their expansion into home services improperly using extensive customer data, infrastructure and market power to decimate local businesses and dominate their markets.

This situation is not without precedent and recently occurred in Maryland when Baltimore Gas & Electric’s (BGE) entered the HVAC market as BGE Home. In that case, about 30 percent of locally owned and operated heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical service companies were forced out of business due to BGE’s unfair business practices.

Therefore, we urge you to contact your public officials and request that they deny NextEra Energy’s attempt to purchase any assets in your state. NextEra’s only goal is to profit at the expense of ratepayers and small businesses.

For information about the coalition, please visit us at www.mepcoalition.org. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Doug Lindstrom, President

SFACA

For a PDF version of the letter click here.

 

 

 

National Air Conditioning Association Endorses Campaign Against FPL

Joins MEP Contractors in Opposing Utility’s Predatory Practices

PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) today endorsed a campaign against Florida Power & Light (FPL). They have joined the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition to oppose the utility’s use of its public resources for private gain in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) market.

MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. Other members of the coalition consist of the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SFACA), the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SWACCA), the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA).

Currently, FPL is entering the air conditioning, electrical & plumbing services and contracting business with a subsidiary called FPL Energy Services. For example, Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating is promoting themselves as an FPL Energy Services Company on their website. In addition, their website features a photo of a Jupiter-Tequesta co-branded truck and FPL Energy Services Home Solutions branded truck. The company claims to now serve 30,000 customers from Lucie to Broward County.

Left unchallenged, the coalition contends that FP&L will continue their expansion into home services using their established branding and recognition, customer lists, infrastructure and market power to decimate their businesses and dominate their markets. They say FPL is unfairly using ratepayer funded resources from their regulated utility to force their way into new revenue streams and higher profits. They argue that their goal is to leverage the company’s market power, aggressively recruit their employees, use predatory pricing to steal their customers and put them out of business.

“The Air Conditioning Contractors of America is proud to join the MEP Coalition to fight against utility expansion into heating and air conditioning services, as well as other services provided by the skilled trades. ACCA stands with professional contractors and local business owners who want a level playing field, fair competition and protection from utility monopoly subsidized threats” said Todd Washam, Director of Industry and External Relations for the ACCA.

Flap over FPL


MEP Coalition for Fair Competition asks state to investigate FPL and FPL Energy Services, claiming utility uses public assets to boost for-profit contracting business.

by: Business Observer Staff

A group of HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors have banded together to ask the state of Florida to prevent what it calls unfair trade practices by Florida Power & Light that threaten their businesses.

Dubbed the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition, the group asked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate FPL, claiming the utility giant is misappropriating regulated public assets to enter private for-profit business markets. MEP stands for mechanical, engineering and plumbing.

Those assets, the coalition charges, include a customer database and public money to subsidize the effort. It cites Jupiter-Tequesta A/C, which is marketing itself as an FPL Energy Services company using FPL’s name and logo in all of its advertisements. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach,-based NextEra Energy.

FPL is also subsidizing Jupiter-Tequesta A/C, the coalition alleges, in other ways, such as recruiting employees; transferring incoming calls directly to the subsidiary; marketing services in utility customer invoices; and sharing infrastructure and other ratepayer-funded resources.

“FPL is using utility ratepayer funds and assets to buy their way into HVAC, electrical, plumbing and other industries, and their goal is to put small local companies out of business and control these markets,” Jaime DiDomenico, president of Cool Today, a Sarasota-based HVAC, plumbing and electrical company, says in a statement. “We hope the attorney general will intervene to protect local businesses, jobs and consumers.”

FPL spokeswoman Debbie Larsson tells Coffee Talk the utility and the energy service contractors are operated as separate entities — and “to suggest otherwise is simply wrong.”

“It’s important to understand that FPL Energy Services — like any other third party — does not have access to FPL customer information without the customer’s consent,” says Larsson, senior director in financial and corporate communications with the utility. “FPL Energy Services has provided a variety of innovative solutions for customers throughout Florida for decades. FPL Energy Services’ revenue and expenses are kept separate from the regulated electricity provider Florida Power & Light.”

The Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association originally filed a complaint April 18 with the state’s Public Service Commission to prevent FPL from subsidizing Jupiter-Tequesta A/C through FPL Energy Services.

Contractors form alliance to oppose what they say is Florida Power and Light’s “predatory” expansion

A state-wide small business alliance called the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition has been launched launched to oppose what it says are Florida Power & Light’s (FPL)predatory practices.

Specifically, the coalition asserts in a news release that the company is using its public resources for private gain in the home services market including air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical services.

Video: MEP Coalition’s YouTube message

MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. Coalition organizers include the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SFACA), the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SWACCA), the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA).

The group says that FPL is leveraging assets from their regulated ratepayer funded utility monopoly to expand into new for-profit businesses.

The news release asserts that FPL entered the air conditioning, electrical & plumbing services and contracting business using a subsidiary called FPL Energy ServicesJupiter- Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating is now promoting itself as an FPL Energy Services Company. In addition, their website features a photo of a Jupiter-Tequesta co-branded truck and FPL Energy Services Home Solutions branded truck. The company claims to now serve 30,000 customers from Lucie to Broward County.

The coalition says it has asked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate the FPL’s business practices in, it asserts, misappropriating regulated public assets to enter private for-profit markets.

“FPL is using utility ratepayer funds and assets to buy their way into HVAC, electrical, plumbing and other industries and their goal is to put small local companies out of business and control these markets,” said Jaime DiDomenico, president of Cool Today, an HVAC, plumbing and electrical company based in Sarasota, and a member of the MEP coalition. “We hope the Attorney General will intervene to protect local businesses, jobs and consumers.”

FRACCA originally filed a complaint with the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) on April 18 to prevent FPL from subsidizing Jupiter-Tequesta A/C through FPL Energy Services.

The MEP Coalition’s letter to the the Florida PSC

NextEra Energy, FPL, FPL Energy Services and Jupiter-Tequesta A/C all share officers and directors. In addition, FPL has admitted to collecting pricing data and customer information from independent contractors participating in rebate programs, the coalition asserts.

Saying the reason was because of the PSC’s inaction, FRACCA and the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition sent another letter on Sept. 13 seeking clarification of FPL’s positions and providing supplemental information to the PSC for consideration, the news release says.

Tray Batcher, a Partner with Cotney Construction Law which represents FRACCA, said in a statement: “FPL is illegally subsidizing a for-profit affiliate using regulated ratepayer funds.

“It is outrageous, unfair and extraordinarily damaging to local small businesses and FPL ratepayers.”

The coalition contends that FPL will continue its expansion into home services “improperly using extensive customer data, infrastructure and market power to decimate local businesses and dominate their markets.”

The contractors group says  FPL is unfairly using ratepayer funded resources from their regulated utility to force their way into new revenue streams and higher profits. “They argue that the company’s goal is to leverage the its market power, aggressively recruit their employees, use predatory pricing to steal their customers and put them out of business,” the news release says.

As evidence of this unfair competition, the coalition points to a precedent that recently occurred when Baltimore Gas & Electric’s (BGE) entered the HVAC market as BGE Home. In that case, about 30 percent of locally owned and operated heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical service companies were forced out of business due to BGE’s unfair business practices.

SFACA president Doug Lindstrom said in a statement: “The Public Service Commission and legislature need to intervene to protect local family owned businesses from unfair predatory practices. These small businesses and the jobs they provide are the backbone of our communities.”

“They will not stop with HVAC,” said Keith Martin, co-owner of Badger Bob’s Services, a Sarasota-based HVAC company. “If they are allowed to get away with it, they will continue their expansion into electrical, plumbing and additional industries.”

FPL has not yet responded to a request for comment from Florida Construction News.

Contractors form alliance to oppose what they say is Florida Power and Light’s “predatory” expansion

 

Small Business Owners Ask Attorney General to Investigate FPL’s Business Practices Argue Company is Using Public Assets to Enter Private For-Profit Markets

 

Small Business Owners Ask Attorney General to Investigate FPL’s Business Practices Argue Company is Using Public Assets to Enter Private For-Profit Markets

Published: Sept 13, 2018 10:00 a.m. ET

Small Business Owners Ask Attorney General to Investigate FPL’s Business Practices Argue Company is Using Public Assets to Enter Private For-Profit Markets


TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) and a statewide coalition of mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors, the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition, today asked Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate the business practices of Florida Power & Light (FPL). Specifically, the groups claim that FPL is misappropriating regulated public assets to enter private for-profit markets.

“FPL is using utility ratepayer funds and assets to buy their way into HVAC, electrical, plumbing and other industries and their goal is to put small local companies out of business and control these markets,” said Jaime DiDomenico, the President of Cool Today, an HVAC, plumbing and electrical company based in Sarasota, and a member of the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition. “We hope the Attorney General will intervene to protect local businesses, jobs and consumers.”

FRACCA originally filed a complaint with the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) on April 18, 2018 to prevent FPL from subsidizing Jupiter-Tequesta A/C through FPL Energy Services. Currently, Jupiter-Tequesta A/C is marketing itself as an FPL Energy Services company and is utilizing FPL’s name and logo in all of its advertisements. FPL is also subsidizing Jupiter-Tequesta A/C in other ways such as recruiting employees, transferring incoming calls directly to the for-profit subsidiary, marketing their services in utility customer invoices and sharing a myriad of infrastructure and other ratepayer funded resources.

NextEra Energy, FPL, FPL Energy Services and Jupiter-Tequesta A/C all share officers and directors. In addition, FPL has admitted to collecting pricing data and customer information from independent contractors participating in rebate programs.

Due to the PSC’s inaction, FRACCA and the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition sent another letter today seeking clarification of FPL’s positions and providing supplemental information to the PSC for consideration. They are also asking the Attorney General’s Antitrust Division to intervene and to initiate an investigation.

Added Tray Batcher, a Partner with Cotney Construction Law which represents FRACCA, “We believe FPL is subsidizing a for-profit affiliate using regulated ratepayer funds.  It is outrageous, unfair and extraordinarily damaging to local small businesses and FPL ratepayers.”

Link to Letter: http://www.mepcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/PSC-Letter-91218.pdf

Private contractors organize coalition to oppose FPL’s new services

Private contractors organize coalition to oppose FPL’s new services

A group of air conditioning contractors is protesting Florida Power & Light’s expansion into the home services business.

The new alliance, MEP Coalition for Fair Competition, includes business owners from Southwest Florida who accuse FPL of “predatory practices” by leveraging assets from its state-regulated power business to move into unregulated services like air conditioning.

The coalition wants the state Public Service Commission, which regulates FPL electric rates, and the Legislature to intervene and protect their interests.

“They will not stop with HVAC,” Keith Martin, co-owner of Badger Bob’s Services in Sarasota, said in announcing the coalition. “If they are allowed to get away with it, they will continue their expansion into electrical, plumbing and additional industries.”

Officials from FPL did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

The utility, Florida’s largest that serves 10 million people across half the state, operates FPL Energy Services, an unregulated subsidiary that offers energy-related products and services like surge protection, water heater and plumbing protection and backup generators.

The coalition contends that as the nation’s third-largest electric company, FPL can improperly access customer data, infrastructure and market power to dominate smaller businesses in air conditioning and other services.

“We are not afraid to compete, but we should not have to compete against a ratepayer-funded monopoly,” said Jaime DiDomenico, president of Cool Today in Sarasota. “We want a level and fair playing field.”

Organizers of the coalition — MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing — include the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association, whose members are from Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Others are the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association, the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association.

Coalition Launches to Oppose FPL’s Predatory Expansion

Contact: Skip Farinhas

(727) 275-0572

 

Coalition Launches to Oppose FPL’s Predatory Expansion

Says Company is Using Ratepayer Funds to Force Small Business Closures

 

  1. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A state-wide small business alliance called the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition launched today to oppose Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) predatory practices. Specifically, the coalition stated that the company is using its public resources for private gain in the home services market including air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical services. MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. Coalition organizers include the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SFACA), the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SWACCA), the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA).

 

FPL is leveraging assets from their regulated ratepayer funded utility monopoly to expand into new for-profit businesses. They aggressively entered the air conditioning, electrical & plumbing services and contracting business using a subsidiary called FPL Energy Services. Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating is now promoting themselves as an FPL Energy Services Company. In addition, their website features a photo of a Jupiter-Tequesta co-branded truck and FPL Energy Services Home Solutions branded truck. The company claims to now serve 30,000 customers from Lucie to Broward County.

Left unchallenged, the coalition contends that FPL will continue their expansion into home services improperly using extensive customer data, infrastructure and market power to decimate local businesses and dominate their markets. They say FPL is unfairly using ratepayer funded resources from their regulated utility to force their way into new revenue streams and higher profits. They argue that the company’s goal is to leverage the its market power, aggressively recruit their employees, use predatory pricing to steal their customers and put them out of business.

As evidence of this unfair competition, the coalition points to a precedent that recently occurred when Baltimore Gas & Electric’s (BGE) entered the HVAC market as BGE Home. In that case, about 30 percent of locally owned and operated heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical service companies were forced out of business due to BGE’s unfair business practices.

 

Said Doug Lindstrom, President of SFACA, “The Public Service Commission and Legislature need to intervene to protect local family-owned businesses from unfair predatory practices. These small businesses and the jobs they provide are the backbone of our communities.”

“They will not stop with HVAC,” added Keith Martin, Co-Owner of Badger Bob’s Services, a Sarasota-based HVAC company. “If they are allowed to get away with it, they will continue their expansion into electrical, plumbing and additional industries.”

“We are not afraid to compete but we should not have to compete against a ratepayer funded monopoly.  We want a level and fair playing field,” said Jaime DiDomenico, President of Cool Today, an HVAC, plumbing and electrical company also based in Sarasota. “For our local businesses, our employees and our families, this is a fight for our lives.”

 

About Us

We are heating and air conditioning, electrical and plumbing service professionals from locally owned and operated small businesses as well as neighbors and members of your community who are concerned about Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) predatory practices. Specifically, FPL is using public resources to enter the HVAC market as FPL Energy Services. This subsidization of a private entity by a public utility will put many small companies out of business. We are not opposed to competition – just unfair competition by a ratepayer-funded monopoly. Together, we will fight FPL’s use of their name and logo, public resources and economies of scale to give them a competitive advantage in this market. For information, please visit us at www.mepcoalition.org.

 

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