Last Thursday the Florida Public Service Commission presented the framework for Florida’s utility companies to work with while creating their plans to underground all power lines throughout the state. As part of the process, the state said that utility companies will be allowed to surcharge customers for the hard cost of the undergrounding of lines. I mentioned the cost of under-grounding is often about four times the cost of traditional power lines. We’re talking about significant costs with this process that we’ll be on the hook for as customers.
Here’s FPL’s current guidance for under-grounding a specific house, which you’re currently able to request independent of the new state mandates. "Costs vary. If it is a standard residential service (100 amps - 320 amps) and the pole is located on your property, FPL charges $651.49. This charge is all inclusive in respect to services rendered by FPL. However, you will incur expenses associated with the work performed by the electrician, an electrical permit, and the burying of the FPL-issued conduit."
So, there’s your baseline for the floor of what this will cost you. Somewhere north of $650. The actual number, net of everything, appears to be much higher. FPL’s estimated cost to underground 60% of its network that isn’t currently underground is $14.5 billion. When you average it out across FPL’s five million customers it’s about $2,900 per FPL customer.
That’s an average based on an estimate, but the point is this. The under-grounding of power lines will likely result in thousands of dollars in additional expenses over the next several years. The surcharges won’t hit all at once, they will be progressive over time but they will be significant.
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