Opponents Of Florida Electric Choice Criticize Commission's Fiscal Impact Statement
Opponents of a proposed ballot initiative to adopt electric choice in Florida have criticized the fiscal impact statement concerning the initiative that was released by Florida's Financial Impact Estimating Conference
As previously reported, Florida's Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) said that the fiscal impacts from a proposed electric choice constitutional amendment are, "unknowable", at this time
"The final design of the new market system for electricity is unknowable until the Legislature acts. There will be significant costs to state and local governments to transition to a fully operational system. The cost of purchasing electricity by governments may be higher or lower, depending on changes in charges for electricity resulting from the amendment. As currently administered, several government revenues would be reduced, but the legislative response to these effects is unknown," according to a financial impact statement from the conference
The Florida Chamber of Commerce disagreed with the FIEC’s conclusions, "particularly in light of the empirical evidence presented by expert economists showing the likelihood of significant increased costs," said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson, The Capitolist reports
The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) also said that while the FIEC said that costs were indeterminate, "we know it would be significantly negative to our economy"
AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney stated, "The proposed electricity deregulation amendment would completely dismantle Florida’s existing electricity market, increasing electric rates for Florida consumers and businesses, and force us to rely on new, unknown corporations that have no experience or track record dealing with our state’s unique challenges, such as hurricanes."
"According to a study by Orlando-based Fishkind & Associates, electricity deregulation in Florida would cause a loss in government revenues of an estimated $1.2 billion per year. This figure does not account for numerous other costs we would anticipate, including delays in storm restoration, which could cost local governments hundreds of millions of dollars more," Feeney stated
"The FIEC is correct – the financial impact on state and local governments ‘cannot be determined at this time,’ but we know it would be significantly negative to our economy; and voters need to be aware independent economic studies demonstrate the cost for the average Florida consumer will go up," Feeney stated
In contrast, electric choice supporters welcomed the FIEC's fiscal statement
Alex Patton, chairman of Citizens For Energy Choices, praised the fiscal statement's "reasoned approach," Florida Politics reports
Notably, the fiscal impact statement did not estimate a specific dollar amount for lost revenues or stranded costs