Saving money on your FPL bill: Tips and tricks from a former circus performer
July 17, 2023

SARASOTA, Fla. Adrenaline courses through Mike Catarzi’s veins as he teeters 40 feet above the ground atop a thin tightrope, defying gravity with each step he takes. The 16-year-old knows just one wrong move, one slip of his foot, could send him plummeting to the ground.  

He’s sheltered from the Sarasota heat under a large blue-and-white-top tent full of wide-eyed spectators. Collective gasps and whispers from the crowd serve as the fuel that keeps him pushing forward.  

“I love the energy and excitement you feel from the crowd while entertaining,” said Catarzi, now 60-years-old, as he reflects on his adventurous childhood with a smile. 

Highwire was just one of the many acts he performed as part of Sailor Circus, which he became a member of at 10 years old. While most of his friends joined boy scouts and soccer teams, Catarzi challenged himself with learning new acts from clown comedy to juggling, teeterboard and flying trapeze.  

It runs in my family,” Catarzi said. “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brought my family to America from Italy to perform in the 1930s and 40s. Back then, they formed pyramids on top of galloping horses with no mechanics or safety lines at all, so if you fell you were getting hurt, no doubt about it.” 

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Catarzi continued his passion for performing during his time at Florida State University, but ultimately decided to trade out his tricks to instead offer tips for Florida Power & Light Company customers looking to save money on their electric bill. 

Decades later, the former performer marks 35 years on the customer service side of FPL. From helping residential customers save on their home electric bills to now assisting businesses as an energy efficiency expert, Catarzi finds joy in helping others. 

“Whether it’s at a home or a business, we’re usually helping a customer solve a problem,” Catarzi explained. “When we find the problem and help them solve it, they’re so happy, especially when their bill goes down in the future.” 

Saving money on your electric bill 

As the hottest months of the year set in, Catarzi knows bills will increase as customers use more energy to keep their homes cool.  

“You can save 3 to 5% on cooling costs with every degree you bump up on your thermostat in the summer,” said Catarzi, who also reminds customers to make sure their AC filters are clean. “I also encourage customers to set their thermostats to 78 degrees and then turn it up when they’re not home.” 

Fans can help cool down a room when the thermostat is set higher. It’s important to turn off the fan when not in use as running it all day can cost up to $7 a month.  

While a customer’s desire to save energy and money hasn’t changed much over the last 35 years, technology has,” said Catarzi. “That’s why I like to recommend the FPL app.” 

By downloading the FPL app and using the Energy Manager feature, customers can learn how much each appliance costs them hour by hour. Catarzi teaches customers about saving more money in the long-run by switching to energy-saving appliances. 

“The sooner you replace your AC, the greater your long-term savings will be,” said Catarzi. “You know you’re due for an upgrade if your AC is working overtime to keep you cool, needs frequent repairs or is 10 years or older.” 

FPL offers an instant $150 rebate when customers use qualified contractors on their AC system project. Additionally, customers may qualify for another $2,000 in tax credits. 

Customers can also receive more than $90 in annual bill credits each year by participating in the company’s On Call® program. By installing a small energy-management On Call device, customers allow FPL to redirect electricity during periods of extremely high demand. Customers receive monthly credits whether appliances are ever switched off or not.  

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Catarzi’s job doesn’t come with the death-defying thrills of his former circus life, but Catarzi still gets a charge out of satisfying customers. 

“It’s all about connecting with people, finding out what their needs are and tailoring to those needs,” said Catarzi. “That’s what I did in the circus, too. I could tell what crowds wanted so I tried to give it to them with as much energy and enthusiasm as I could.”  

Even after his daring circus career ended, Catarzi continued to defy odds in his personal life. As a cancer and heart attack survivor, Catarzi views every day as a new opportunity to live life to its fullest. 

“I’m very fortunate,” said Catarzi, who credits his wife and two children for helping him through his toughest days. “I’m thankful to not only have had my family by my side, but my friends and FPL family who have also supported me every step of the way. It makes me want to cry.” 

FPL customers can learn more about ways to save energy and money on their bill by visiting For information on how to find out the energy efficiency of your home visit