It’s time to disrupt Florida’s electricity industry RSS Feed

It’s time to disrupt Florida’s electricity industry

It’s time to disrupt Florida’s electricity industry

When you think about utilities – the energy that powers our homes and businesses – ‘disruption’ is probably the last word you’d think of as a positive. Yet disruption is exactly what Florida’s energy marketplace needs.

Competition breeds innovation. When innovators compete, costs go down and quality improves. This has been true within my own industry – pharmacy benefit management. And though my work is in the field of health care technology, it cannot be done without reliable, affordable electricity.

Florida is unique among the seven largest states by giving consumers zero choice in how they get their electricity. Powerful electric companies own monopolies in each region of the state, forcing Floridians to take what we are given. But there is hope for a positive disruption. It’s called Proposal 51, and it would give consumers choice in where they get their electricity. It will soon come before a committee of the Constitution Revision Commission, and this is an idea we should all get behind.

Utility companies know that dissatisfied consumers have nowhere else to go. At best, mediocrity is tolerated; at worst, mediocrity becomes the new norm.

An expensive, innovation-stifling new norm.

A competitive market for electricity would deliver three main benefits for all Floridians. The first would be a 25 percent reduction in electricity prices, adding up to a staggering $7.5 billion in annual savings by 2030. Had a competitive electrical market existed in Florida, savings in 2016 would have been approximately $6 billion. Lower utility costs will energize economic growth, fuel the creation of up to 105,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the cost of living.

Second, greater competition among electricity providers would increase the quality of service. Companies would have the incentive to make themselves more available to consumers — otherwise, consumers could just go somewhere else for service.

Finally, energy freedom for Floridians would inspire innovation. For businesses, this could mean scheduling a workforce during off-peak times, which would provide savings to downline consumers through lower production costs. Market-based, time-of-use rates give a much better price than the rate-regulated equivalents currently in place in Florida….

Read full article at Tallahassee Democrat