FLORIDA ENERGY DEREGULATION

The national energy deregulation law was passed in 1998, but left up to the states to implement. All 50 states were mandated to be completely energy deregulated, for both residential and commercial energy, by 2015. Florida energy deregulation is being considered by regulators. Energy deregulation will be very good for the Florida economy, good for small business, and good for Florida taxpayers.

Some consumer's electric bills now approach their mortgage payments. There are people in mobile homes paying $350 a month in electric and small homes paying $600 a month. Many small businesses pay $1,500 a month for electricity. The high cost of energy has an adverse effect on the Florida economy. These high utility rates are reducing the disposable income of consumers. Utility costs are a large expense for small businesses struggling to survive. There are ways to reduce utility rates through free market competition.

Texas fully deregulated its electric market in 2002. In Texas, customers have the option of staying with the local utility provider or switching to a competitive retail electric provider. Texas deregulation still allows quasi-government power providers to keep their monopoly. A true deregulated market should be modeled after the phone companies.

Electric service is broken into three categories: power generation, distribution (wires), and customer billing.  If energy is properly deregulated in Florida, any company can buy power from any producer, use any distribution line for a fee, and sell to any customer. The competition will result in more efficient administration of energy and lower prices. If deregulation can reduce energy costs just 5 percent a year, it will reduce the annual energy cost to Florida consumers by $3 billion a year. That $3 billion will flow into the pockets of consumers who will spend the money in our small-business economy. Those small businesses will hire more people as sales improve and our economy will grow back to prosperity.