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Public counsel files suit challenging PSC's decision on FPL settlement

Public Counsel J.R. Kelly has officially filed his legal challange to Florida Power & Light's rate settlement and on Wednesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to reject the settlement state regulators appoved between the company and its largest utility customers last August.

Kelly, whose office represents all consumers in rate cases, claims that the Public Service Commission violated the state constitution when it approved the $350 million rate increase beginning in January without including his office as a party to the agreement.

The settlement, reached between FPL, large military installations, South Florida hospitals, and members of the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, also allows FPL to raise rates again when three new power plants start operating.

The Office of Public Counsel was created by the Legislature to represent consumers statewide in utility issues before the PSC and the August rate case agreement was the first time the commission has approved a settlement without the public counsel's participation.

Kelly contends the settlement is a bad deal for most of FPL's 4.6 million customers. FPL, a unit of NextEra Energy Inc., contends that the agreement will benefit all of the company's customers and will result an improved financial prospects.  Download SC 13-144 - Citizens Initial Brief