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Report Alleges Utility 'Bankrolled' News Site, Which Parroted Talking Points Against Retail Choice

July 27,2022

The Miami Herald published a report by Sarah Blaskey which alleges that Florida Power & Light Company CEO Eric Silagy was "secretly running" Florida news site the Capitolist, which focuses on business, politics, and policy

Annie Martin and Mario Alejandro Ariza authored a similar report in the Orlando Sentinel

Notable is that Blaskey alleged that Florida Power & Light executives pitched to consultants, who are alleged to have served as a conduit to the Capitolist, a story noting how cell phone service outages after a hurricane could be spun as a warning against electricity deregulation (in this case, meaning retail electric choice)

Blaskey reports that the Capitolist a week later published a story headlined: "Can you hear me now? Verizon hurricane troubles underscore danger of deregulating power companies"

Blaskey's report included a statement from an FPL spokesperson which stated, "While it would be perfectly legal, FPL does not have an ownership interest in the Capitolist -- either directly or indirectly," with the FPL spokesperson further stating, "We also do not have editorial control over what the Capitolist writes or publishes."

In a statement published in the Palm Beach Post, an FPL spokesperson further alleged, "As we stated to the Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel, we cannot prove the veracity of the documents that have been leaked to reporters ... We have seen evidence that some of these documents have been doctored to try to make FPL look bad."

In a statement to the Herald, Capitolist editor Brian Burgess said he had never, "met, corresponded with, spoken to, nor do I have any relationship whatsoever with the FPL executives you [the Herald] mentioned."

"I have never pitched nor solicited feedback from FPL executives on any story or business venture. I have never received a story pitch from any FPL executive outside of typical corporate press releases sent to all media outlets, including the Miami Herald," said Burgess

Burgess further alleged records cited in the Herald report contained, "fundamental errors or omissions that paint a wildly inaccurate picture of the Capitolist and its operations."

See more in the stories linked below:

Miami Herald

Orlando Sentinel

Energy Choice   Florida   FPL  

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