JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), Babcock Ranch Community Independent Special District (ISD) and Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) today announced a settlement agreement that addresses the parties' outstanding issues and provides a path forward for Babcock Ranch development. Part of the settlement includes Babcock Ranch ISD and FPL entering into a franchise agreement that allows the state's largest utility to be the electric service provider for the Babcock Ranch community.
"Solar power generation and energy efficiency are lynchpins in our plan to make Babcock the world's most environmentally responsible community," said Syd Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners. "Streamlining collection and distribution of power throughout the community utilizing FPL's advanced 'smart grid' technologies keeps us on track to achieve that goal."
The original territorial agreement approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in 1965 divided the Babcock Ranch property between FPL and LCEC. If approved, this resolution will allow the Babcock Ranch community to be served by a single electric service provider.
"LCEC is pleased about the mutually beneficial settlement agreement," said LCEC CEO Dennie Hamilton. "While we are proud of our rich history of reliable electricity, quality customer service and reasonable rates, we understand the benefit of receiving service from a single provider. We feel this agreement protects the interests of all stakeholders and is promising for the Babcock Ranch community and Southwest Florida as a whole."
Planning for the Babcock community has been underway since 2006 as part of an historic public-private partnership that allowed the State of Florida to put the vast majority of the ranch into conservation. Energy efficiency and solar energy generation are core components of Kitson & Partners' commitment to sustainability. Already the largest producer of solar energy in the Sunshine State, FPL is working with Babcock Ranch to develop a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility to help serve the electric needs of the community.
"FPL works closely with Lee County Electric Cooperative to provide affordable and reliable electricity to Southwest Florida, and we look forward to welcoming the Babcock Ranch community to the FPL family to enjoy electric rates that are the lowest in Florida and about 25 percent below the national average," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Importantly, FPL is committed to advancing solar energy in Florida, and Babcock Ranch provides a terrific backdrop, along with several other sites throughout the state, for us to develop and place in service large-scale solar facilities in the coming years."
The Babcock Ranch Community ISD recently approved the settlement agreement with FPL and LCEC as well as the franchise agreement with FPL, and FPL and LCEC signed the settlement agreement this week. LCEC and FPL will soon file a request with the Florida Public Service Commission to amend the service territories, moving the boundaries to put the full Babcock Ranch community in FPL's service area. Assuming the change is approved by the PSC, Babcock Ranch ISD will withdraw its previously-filed request to establish a new municipal electric service provider.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving approximately 4.7 million customer accounts across nearly half of the state of Florida. As of year-end 2013, FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the national average and the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among utilities nationwide. The company was recognized in 2014 as the most trusted U.S. electric utility by Market Strategies International, and has earned the national ServiceOne Award for outstanding customer service for an unprecedented 10 consecutive years. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.
Kitson & Partners
Kitson & Partners is a private residential and commercial real estate investment and development company based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Kitson & Partners' portfolio includes 1.5 million square feet of retail shopping centers, 6.8 million square feet of commercial entitlements, and 21,500 entitled residential units. With a 22-year track record and long-term patient institutional capital, Kitson & Partners' operational expertise and financial strength are unparalleled in the Florida real estate development business.
Lee County Electric Cooperative
Established in 1940, LCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, Ave Maria, and parts of Lehigh Acres. LCEC is committed to providing efficient, reliable, cost-competitive electric and emerging energy solutions and excellent service to customer/members. Over the years, LCEC has returned more than $220 million in equity to members. The organization is also a major contributor to the local economy as one of the largest employers in Lee County and through its support of many local agencies through charitable giving, volunteerism and environmental stewardship.
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SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company
For further information: Florida Power & Light Co., Media Line: 561-694-4442; Kitson & Partners, Lisa Hall, 850-508-7782; LCEC, Karen Ryan, APR, CPRC, 239-229-8013