FPL to re­fund $27.7 mil­lion in storm fees

Cus­tomers would re­ceive $3.18 credit

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - MONEY - By Mar­cia Her­oux Pounds Staff writer

Whoopee! Three dol­lars are com­ing back to your wal­let.

Florida Power & Light Co. has agreed to re­fund $27.7 mil­lion to cus­tomers for 2016’s Hur­ri­cane Matthew costs in a deal with the Of­fice of Pub­lic Coun­sel. The re­fund in­cludes $6 mil­lion in “over­recov­ery” charges and $21.7 mil­lion in ac­count­ing ad­just­ments, ac­cord­ing to a set­tle­ment filed Tues­day with the Florida Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

The re­fund would re­sult in a one-time $3.18 credit on elec­tric bills for a cus­tomer who uses the typ­i­cal 1,000 kilo­watt hours of elec­tric­ity a month, ac­cord­ing to the set­tle­ment. The deal still has to be ap­proved by the Florida Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, which reg­u­lates the state’s util­i­ties.

FPL spokesman Christo­pher McGrath said the re­fund is the re­sult of “ad­just­ments to the ac­count­ing treat­ment for a por­tion of the costs.”

The Juno Beach-based util­ity col­lected $322.45 mil­lion from cus­tomers for re­cov­ery from Matthew, which re­sulted in power out­ages for 1.2 mil­lion cus­tomers in the state.

About $6 mil­lion are listed in the agree­ment as “over-re­cov­ery” costs, ac­cord­ing to the Pub­lic Coun­sel.

The tri­county re­gion got lucky in the storm as Hur­ri­cane Matthew moved to the east, help­ing avoid a South Florida land­fall by keep­ing the storm farther from shore, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice.

In Feb­ru­ary 2017, the Florida Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion granted FPL’s re­quest and al­lowed the state’s largest util­ity to col­lect an ad­di­tional $3.36 per 1,000 kilo­watt-hours of elec­tric­ity used. The 12-month sur­charge ex­pired in March.

In May, Michigan-based se­nior reg­u­la­tory an­a­lyst Hel­mut Schultz, who did an anal­y­sis on be­half of the Pub­lic Coun­sel, tes­ti­fied that cer­tain claimed ex­penses by FPL should be dis­al­lowed be­cause of lack of or ques­tion­able doc­u­men­ta­tion. They in­cluded nearly $18 mil­lion in crew

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