FPL gas pipeline nets early nod
By SUSAN SALISBURY, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Florida Power & Light Co. should be allowed to build a 300-mile natural gas pipeline in the state, a majority of Florida Public Service Commission staffers have recommended.
The staff’s 90-page report states that four of the six staffers who worked on the Florida EnergySecure Pipeline issue said it should be approved, with two deciding against it.
In July the PSC held hearings on FPL’s petition to build the $1.53 billion underground pipeline from Bradford County to Martin County. The 30-inch pipeline will run through 14 counties and be buried at least 3 to 4 feet deep.
From its Martin plant site, FPL wants to add infrastructure to transport natural gas to its Cape Canaveral and Riviera Beach plants. The PSC is scheduled to vote on the issue Oct. 6. and does not have to agree with its staff.
FPL spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said the company disagrees with the staff’s suggestion that a separate subsidiary should own and operate the pipeline, which would only add more costs and bureaucracy.
Florida Gas Transmission Co. LLC, Houston, which operates a 5,000-mile pipeline system from Texas to Florida, opposes Juno Beach based- FPL’s proposed pipeline. The company is the state’s largest natural gas provider.
Staffers against the recommendation said that the pipeline is not needed to maintain natural gas delivery reliability and integrity within Florida. It also will not improve the economics of gas transportation in Florida, nor will it provide competitive benefits to Florida, as FPL alleged.
The dissenting staffers also recommended that FPL should be required to rebid the project.
If approved, the project would be the state’s third pipeline and would be finished in 2014; FPL ratepayers will pay for it in their bills over 27 years.