Customers who enrolled in Florida Power & Light Co.’s Sunshine Energy Program to help develop renewable energy apparently were getting a lot less than what they bargained for, according to the Florida Public Service Commission.
As a result, commissioners on Tuesday put an end to the program, which had been subcontracted out to am Austin, Texas company, Green Mountain Energy Company.
An audit last year found that most of the $9.5 million collected from more than 38,000 customers, who paid an additional $9.75 a month to participate, was going toward administrative costs of the program such as salaries, office expenses, business travel, research, marketing and public relations.
“The commissioners determined the program no longer served the interest of participants and doesn’t serve the interests of its participants or reflects Florida’s current renewable energy policies,” PSC spokeswoman Bev DeMello said.
In a press release issued by Green Mountain the company noted it had provided tens of thousands of FPL customers with “an affordable and easy way” to reduce their carbon footprint.
“The Sunshine Energy program has delivered on its promises to customers. Our management of the program has been stellar for industry standards,” Paul Markovich, Green Mountain’s senior vice president, said in a prepared statement.
Money from those who paid for the current billing cycle will be placed in an escrow account, she said.
In an effort to further protect customers, the money already paid in to the fund will be audited and it will be determined if there are refunds or credits that need to be made, DeMello said.
Green Mountain Energy’s attorney told commissioners they would participate in anything the commission needed to do and is willing to participate with PSC staff.
By Susan R. Miller
29 July 2008
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