The Case Against FPL
Florida Power and Light is a regulated utility monopoly. FPL is not using ratepayer funded assets to improve services for customers, lower prices, sustain service and recovery efforts in storms or for the benefits of ratepayers. They are using them to maintain their monopoly, limit competition, pay lobbyists and exert political influence to expand corporate profits. In their quest for expansion, they have moved into the “Energy Services” market by purchasing a private contractor (Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric) and moving into offering air conditioning, heating, electrical and plumbing services direct to residential and commercial property owners.
FPL is using ratepayer funds and assets from their regulated utility to build this new profit generating scheme. Unlawfully using predatory pricing and leveraging their corporate resources, their plan is to decimate the small business owners and contractors who offer these services locally. Once they have forced small community based contractors out of business, FPL will be free to hold a monopoly position in these new industries, destroying competition and raising prices as they see fit.
If FPL is allowed to use their power, assets and regulated monopoly status to unfairly and unlawfully dominate new industries, other utilities will follow their lead decimating jobs, competition and consumer choice.
Here’s the proof:
Jupiter-Tequesta A/C is being wrongfully subsidized by FPL. Jupiter-Tequesta A/C is advertising as an FPL company, and makes full use of the FPL trademark in all its advertisements. A trademark has intrinsic value, which is recognized and protected by Florida law.
Corporate Shell Game
State of Florida Division of Corporation records indicate that six of the seven officers and directors of NextEra Energy are also officers and directors of FPL.
Three of the seven officers and directors of FPL Energy Services are also officers and directors of FPL.
FPL Energy Services owns Jupiter-Tequesta A/C.
All four corporations share the same main offices and registered agent.
The Brand You Know
Using FPL’s branding and logo as well as customer data, corporate marketing and financial resources all funded by utility ratepayers, FPL aggressively markets their new energy services to existing customers with cut-rate deals and predatory pricing schemes designed to put local contractors out of business. They even place advertisements for Jupiter-Tequesta in invoices mailed to utility customers.
Deals Too Good to Be True
“Jupiter Tequesta AC, Plumbing & Electric, an FPL Energy Services Company” offer a $25 60-point air conditioner tuneup. ($54 off the regular price!). Subsidized, predatory pricing design to destroy competition and control a market. FPL even offers to schedule Jupiter-Tequesta A/C to perform a free inspection for the consumer at any residence when transferring power services.
Temporary cut-rate pricing is one thing but, when you have the massive FPL monopoly infrastructure behind you, you can break it down into monthly billing. Local contractors can’t do that. They don’t control a monopoly that can resource customer data and generate monthly invoices for thousands (and 24/7 customer care centers).
There is a problem with power at your home. FPL, your favorite regulated ratepayer funded monopoly utility, sends out a truck but they leave this behind- an ad with a discount offer for another FPL company that will do your electrical work. The technicians consumers pay for as part of their utility bills are doing the marketing work for FPL’s other companies.
As a regulated monopoly utility, FPL has direct access to information on all utility customers (everyone). They are using that information as well as their utility billing systems to aggressively market new services to residents. In this case, FPL knows what equipment and services this customer uses and designs their marketing to look like a scary “Status Review” warning. Fear based marketing like this is unethical and improperly uses utility ratepayer funded resources to get new customers for an unrelated for profit entity with an added charge on existing utility bills.
Insuring a Monopoly
Small business owners and contractors have to work hard to keep their businesses running. Things like business liability insurance are required for all business owners…but not for Jupiter-Tequesta. Their corporate parent has them covered. When you are a ratepayer funded monopoly, you have enough cash sitting around to “self-insure.” No need for hefty insurance premiums like small businesses pay.