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.

Convenient Billing

“Best of all, our low monthly price is conveniently added to your FPL bill.”

Jupiter Tequesta bills are added right to customers monthly FPL invoices utilizing the same corporate infrastructure, resources and personnel as the ratepayer funded utility.

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.

A Ladder to Unlawful Success

FPL says that it is not subsidizing Jupiter-Tequesta.  No connection at all!  FPL even offers to transfer incoming telephone calls directly to Jupiter-Tequesta.

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.

Predatory Pricing

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).

Targeted for Elimination

Targeting Plumbers, Electricians, A/C and Heating Technicians, FPL wants it all. They can outbid any small business to get the work but, when all the local contractors are gone, FPL will be the only game in town. A monopoly – because that’s how they like it.

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.

Offering $500 in savings including “$350 of free FPL services,” FPL is flexing their monopoly muscle to crush competition and build a whole new monopoly.

Monopoly Marketing
 
Imagine having access to every single household with customer data that includes what equipment everyone has, how old it is and when it is due to be repaired or replaced. FPL’s utility monopoly does and they are using it to market aggressively. 
FPL claims they are not using resources from their regulated ratepayer utility but here it is.  “Dial FPL” says the marketing piece sent to FPL customers, using FPL mailing lists, offering cut rate deals subsidized by FPL and inviting folks to a barbecue “hosted by FPL” at an FPL facility!

A Marketing Monopoly

As a regulated, ratepayer funded utility, FPL has access to extensive customer data. Now they are using that customer information to email and market to their customers…and as a utility monopoly, that’s everyone.

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.

Work for FPL!

To corner the market in home services, FPL needs staff and they are aggressively recruiting directly from existing small businesses. FPL staff and resources are used to subsidize pay and benefits in the subsidiary. 

Hear it for yourself!

Paid recruiters make the pitch – Looking for HVAC technicians who want to work with FPL.

FPL is using their entire personnel infrastructure to recruit for “Energy Services” including holding job fairs on FPL properties. These job postings for plumbers, electricians, air-conditioning and heating technicians are for NextEra/FPL jobs with salaries and benefits subsidized by FPL.