A weekly e-newsletter for FMPA members
Dec. 12, 2016
Pole Attachment Agreements
FMPA is making progress with cable companies in a long-sought update to pole attachment agreements for municipal utilities. Some time ago, FMPA’s legal staff developed a revised Model Pole Attachment Agreement with input from the Agency’s members. Several members have common attachers, so they decided to work together through FMPA to negotiate new attachment agreements using the model agreement while allowing for individual utility rates. Amanda Swindle heard back from Comcast, which had relatively minor comment on the agreement and seems agreeable to each utility having its own rates. An FMPA member utility has been working with AT&T to update its contract using the Model Pole Attachment Agreement. AT&T has reviewed the agreement and provided relatively minor comments. Once final agreements are reached with Comcast and AT&T, FMPA will be in touch with its interested members on next steps for presenting proposed rates to both attachers. Contact: Sharon Smeenk
Kissimmee Utility Authority
Jacob Williams and Mark McCain attended the Kissimmee Utility Authority’s Board of Directors meeting last Wednesday. Jacob gave a presentation on FMPA’s rates, environmental performance and goals for 2017.
Solar PV Market Research
GreatBlue Research began making survey calls last week to customers in cities participating in the solar PV market research project. Calls started on Tuesday to utility customers in Gainesville and Ocala. This week, calls continue to Ocala and start in Leesburg. Each participating utility will be notified before calls begin into their city. Contact: Sharon Smeenk
Excellence as a Supervisor II
The second module of Series II of FMPA’s Excellence as a Supervisor training is Tuesday and Wednesday at FMPA’s Orlando office. This training is designed for first-line supervisors, middle-level supervisors and prospective supervisors. Series II provides information on selection and development of employees, performance evaluations, employee motivation, leading change, as well as an overview of ensuring a harassment-free and respectful workplace. Contact: Sharon Smeenk
Audit and Risk Oversight Committee
FMPA’s Audit and Risk Oversight Committee meets Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the Board room at FMPA’s Orlando office to discuss information items, including: 1) St. Lucie capital appreciation bonds quarterly update, 2) 2016 generation performance report, 3) review controls conceing the use of lines of credit, 4) fuel market update, and 5) risk management policy reviews. The full agenda package is available on the Portal. Contact: Rich Popp
Board of Directors
FMPA’s Board of Directors meets Thursday in the Board room at FMPA’s Orlando office at 9:30 a.m., or immediately following the AROC meeting. The Board will hear: 1) an action item on the approval of FPL St. Lucie Project Transmission Service Agreement, and 2) an information item on the survey and RFP for the joint-action solar PV project. The full agenda package is available on the Portal. Contact: Jacob Williams
ARP Executive Committee
The ARP Executive Committee meets Thursday in the Board room of FMPA’s Orlando office at 10 a.m., or immediately following the Board of Directors meeting. The Executive Committee will consider two action items: 1) approval of the Executive Committee’s 2017 meeting schedule, and 2) consideration of moving certain costs categorized as fixed to variable for ARP’s rate making purposes. The full agenda package is available on the Portal. Contact: Jacob Williams
All-Requirements Project Weekly Load Statistics
The weekly update of the All-Requirements Project historical load graph has been posted on the Portal. The graph is updated through Dec. 11. Contact: Jim Arntz
Distribution Services and Lineworker Staffing Roundtable
Utility directors, city managers, human resource professionals and anyone involved in the recruitment and retention of lineworkers and other utility staffers are encouraged to attend the Distribution Services and Lineworker Staffing Roundtable scheduled for Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. in FMPA’s Orlando office. This a chance for utilities to come together and share information about how to tackle challenge in these areas. Registration is free and lunch will be provided. Contact: Sharon Smeenk
Florida Lineman Competition
Registration is now open for the 2017 Florida Lineman Competition to be held April 21-22 at Tiger Town in Lakeland. The event hosted by Lakeland Electric features joueyman and apprentice competitions, as well as training classes and sessions to practice essential skills in a safe environment. Competition information and registration is available on the Florida Municipal Electric Association’s website.
Natural Gas Prices Rise
Natural gas prices have risen nearly 40% since Nov. 11, sending gas to its highest level since December 2014 as cold weather forecasts raised expectations for gas demand. Following a historically warm autumn, new forecasts show below-average temperatures spreading across a large portion of the country. About half of all U.S. homes use natural gas for heating, which typically makes winter weather the market’s biggest driver of demand, often resulting in price spikes. Forecasters are calling for below-normal temperatures over the entire country, except in parts of the Southwest and Florida, deep into the third week of December. Although some parts of the country are not that far below normal, experts say the natural-gas market has changed enough that even a normal winter can be enough to drain gas stockpiles and cause prices to rise.
Construction Begins in Alabama on Sabal Trail Natural Gas Pipeline
Construction began in Alabama last week on the Sabal Trail Project, a 515-mile interstate natural gas pipeline to provide transportation services for power generation needs to Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida by June 2017. The $3.2 billion underground pipeline that runs through Alabama, Georgia and into Central Florida is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp., NextEra Energy and Duke Energy.
Clean Energy Group Allowed to Intervene in Gulf Power Rate Case
Despite objections from Gulf Power, the Southe Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) was allowed to intervene last week in the Pensacola-based utility’s rate case at the Florida Public Service Commission. SACE, which has often clashed with utilities, filed a petition last month seeking to take part in the case. Gulf objected to the petition saying SACE had not shown that its interests or the interests of its members would be “adversely affected by the rate case, which seek to raise base rates by $106.8 million. Public Service Commission member Jimmy Patronis, who is serving as the prehearing officer in the case, issued an order last Thursday allowing SACE to intervene. “The purpose of this proceeding is to determine the fair, just and reasonable electric rates to be charged by Gulf, the order said. “The substantial interests of SACE’s members are affected by this proceeding, since increases in the cost of electricity directly affect their monthly electric bills.
SolarCity Launches Residential Solar Service in Florida
SolarCity announced last Thursday that it will begin offering residential solar service in Florida, “something we’ve wanted to announce for a long time, according to a http://blog.solarcity.com/the-sunshine-state/>company blog post. “Today’s announcement was made possible when the citizens of Florida rejected the anti-solar Amendment 1, which would have made it easier for utilities to add fees to make solar more expensive for customers, the SolarCity blog states. The largest solar energy services provider in the U.S., now a subsidiary of Tesla Motors, will initially begin operations in the greater-Orlando area serving customers of Duke Energy and Orlando Utilities Commission. The company plans to expand to additional areas of the state in the coming months. In other states, SolarCity’s business is predominantly driven by the sale of home solar leases. Florida, however, does not allow homeowners to buy solar through a third-party agreement, like a lease or power-purchase agreement, so the company’s business will center on solar systems purchased by residential customers with cash or loans.
Congress Passes Coal Ash Language; Energy Bill Dies
In one of the final acts before Congress adjoued for this session, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate last week passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (“WIIN Act), which included language on coal ash that was supported by all sectors of the electric utility industry. The language allows for the creation of state permitting programs to either administer the Environmental Protection Agency’s final Coal Combustions Residuals (CCR) rule or a state program that operates in lieu of the final CCR rule. Another bill closely watched by electric utilities did not fare as well. Both chambers of Congress had passed omnibus energy bills, and last July, they agreed to go to conference to reconcile differences between the two bills. Since the November election, though, support for an energy bill has waned in the House. Despite a strong push by Senate energy committee leaders, lawmakers ran out of time to reach a compromise, and the energy bill died.
FMPA Weekly is published by FMPA for employees and goveing boards of FMPA member utilities. Questions or comments about this newsletter may be directed to Jeff Grainger or Nikki Bloomfield in FMPA’s Public Relations Department.
Want more background on the names and terms used in this newsletter? Check out FMPA’s Glossary, which features some of the most frequently mentioned committees, companies, places and terms, or contact the person named in each FMPA story to lea more.
Have a question, comment or story idea for the newsletter? FMPA welcomes your feedback at any time. Contact: Jeff Grainger or Nikki Bloomfield.
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