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
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.”