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McCutcheon Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

Attorney General asked to Investigate FPL's Business Practices

Small Business Owners Ask Attorney General to Investigate FPL's Business Practices Argue Company is Using Public Assets to Enter Private For-Profit Markets 

Link to Original Story 

The Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) and a statewide coalition of mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors, the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition, today asked Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate the business practices of Florida Power & Light (FPL). Specifically, the groups claim that FPL is misappropriating regulated public assets to enter private for-profit markets.

"FPL is using utility ratepayer funds and assets to buy their way into HVAC, electrical, plumbing and other industries and their goal is to put small local companies out of business and control these markets," said Jaime DiDomenico, the President of Cool Today, an HVAC, plumbing and electrical company based in Sarasota, and a member of the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition. "We hope the Attorney General will intervene to protect local businesses, jobs and consumers."

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Coalition Launches To Oppose FPL’s Predatory Expansion

You may have seen a recent Herald Tribune article about a group of Southwest Florida air conditioning contractors that have organized in opposition to FPL’s expansion into for-profit home services.

Perhaps you just saw the headline, “Private contractors organize coalition to oppose FPL’s new services”, and decided, “this doesn’t affect me”, but here’s why you should be concerned…

Florida Power & Light (FPL), the largest utility in the state (and the 3rd largest in the country), recently purchased Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical and re-branded it as FPL Energy Services. This unregulated subsidiary is leveraging the assets of its state-regulated parent and improperly accessing the data of its 10 million customers to offer them services like surge protection, water heater and plumbing protection, and now air conditioning maintenance.

Tucked neatly in your utility bill, you’ll find a too-good-to-be-true AC Maintenance offer from FPL Energy Services, but that’s just what it is – too good to be true…

The following is the press release from MACCA:

***PRESS RELEASE***

COALITION LAUNCHES TO OPPOSE FPL’S PREDATORY EXPANSION

A state-wide small business alliance called the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition launched today to oppose Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) predatory practices. Specifically, the coalition stated that the company is using its public resources for private gain in the home services market including air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical services. MEP is an acronym for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. www.MEPCoalition.org
Coalition organizers include the South Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SFACA), the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SWACCA), the Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) and the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA).

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Don’t be fooled by FPL Energy Services!

Did you recently receive an offer for air conditioning maintenance from FPL Energy Services?

You probably thought this was a new service that Florida Power & Light (FPL), the state-regulated utility that delivers energy to your home, was offering. After all, FPL Energy Services has a similar name, it uses the FPL logo, and the offer came in your FPL bill so why would you think anything else? But FPL Energy Services is not Florida Power & Light, and it is certainly not regulated in the same way.

FPL Energy Services is a for-profit subsidiary of Florida Power & Light (FPL). FPL is taking advantage of the relationship they have with its 10 million customers across half the state to sell them services like surge protection, water heater and plumbing protections, and now air conditioning maintenance through unregulated subsidiaries and affiliates that have not earned your trust.

FPL recently purchased Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical and re-branded it as FPL Energy Services (FPLES), but FPLES does not have their own technicians, they use contractors from outside the area who are desperate for any work they can get to offer services to unsuspecting customers who think they are dealing with FPL.

Local contractors work hard to build relationships in their communities, their kids go to school with your kids, they support youth sports in your community, and they help clean local parks and beaches. They know their customer base and they know they have to earn your trust every day.

Florida Power & Light doesn’t have to earn your trust, they’re the only game in town. They can afford to lose money by undercutting local contractors, many of whom have achieved the highest levels in their profession, then overcharge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during a state disaster or raise your prices to recoup their losses.

Government subsidized businesses should not be allowed to operate unregulated for-profit businesses that target a captive audience. This is an unhealthy market disruption that does not bode well for local businesses or consumers who would be left with inferior service at higher prices, and fewer choices.

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