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Vero Beach, Fla., renews effort to sell utility to FPL

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Vero Beach, Fla., renews effort to sell utility to FPL

Thecity council of Vero Beach, Fla., is renewing its effort to sell its municipalutility to Florida Power &Light Co.

TheVero Beach City Council on May 3 authorized an attorney to arrange a meetingwith the Florida Municipal PowerAgency, the OrlandoUtilities Commission, and representatives of the county and othertowns, according to TCPalm.com.

Forthe last two years, the potential acquisition of Vero Beach's utility by FPLhas been stalled dueto bond and power contractcommitments between the city and the Florida Municipal PowerAgency.

FPL'sstatus as an investor-owned utility created contractual complications thatparties involved have not been able to unravel, despite a in favor of the dealshowing widespread support by Vero Beach citizens.

Atone point Vero Beach had hoped to have the Orlando Utilities Commission to takeover the city's contractual obligations, but it later determined it cannot takeover the contracts without violating its own bond commitments.

FPLis a subsidiary of NextEra EnergyInc.

VeroBeach has power contracts with the St.Lucie nuclear power plant, which is approximately 93% owned byNextEra, with the FMPA and OUC owning the remaining 7%, according to S&PGlobal Market Intelligence data. Vero Beach also has a PPA with the coal-firedStanton plant, ofwhich the OUC owns 70%, FMPA owns 28% and the Kissimmee Utility Authority owns 2%.

Asrecently as 2015, FPL had removedthe Vero Beach deal from its 10-year site plans, while the city wascontemplating nine-year power contracts with the Orlando Utilities Commission,indicating an absence of any forward progress on an acquisition.

FPLhas offered the town of Indian River Shores, Fla., which is northeast of VeroBeach, $13 million for its portion of the Vero Beach system, according toTCPalm. During the May 3 council meeting, Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramerquestioned whether the city should be meeting with representatives of thecounty and Indian River Shores while both entities have pending litigationagainst the city related to electric rates and service area boundaries.

"We seemto have this idea when we have a fork in the road, we take it," Kramer wasquoted as saying. "Which direction are we going? Are we going with thepartial sale or are we still going with the full sale? We've got our attorneys here,we're spending money, which direction are we going in? We've got lawsuits outthere pending. You typically don't work with people who are suing you."