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.
Doug Lindstrom, President