In union circles, they call it "burial insurance." That apt phrase denotes the severance, early retirement and re-training packages negotiated for veteran utility workers sideswiped by a changing...
Electric Restructuring: Before, During and After
the neighborhood of a few million dollars.
Clearly, Florida uses a lot of electricity and people are looking to that, but I want to tell you this and I want to be clear and on the record here. I am not a big believer in retail competition. I do not think my grandmother is going to get up at four in the morning and do her wash ¼ because [that] is just not in the nature of how we use [electricity].
We have to remember that Florida's utility system was built not on the backs of industrial customers, but on the backs of retail ratepayers. We have been very careful where we are going. One of the great advantages that we have in Florida is that we are watching what everyone else is doing. ¼ California likes to be on the bleeding edge; we are fine with [that]. I think that we are going to learn a lot from our brothers in other states.
That said, I think you and I would agree [that] five years from now we are going to be in a much more competitive arena whether Florida likes it or not because of the nature of competition and the paradigm that our country has chosen. Florida will be a part of that.
What state would you say is in a similar position?
I don't. I think Florida is very unique in a lot of ways. First of all, if you look at the reliability or coordinating councils across the country, the only state that has its own is Florida. Texas, you can say it does, but Texas reaches into other states. Florida is very unique because we are a peninsula. We don't have massive transmission or gas lines cutting every which way across us. So we have to depend on our own system to be working and functioning to make sure that we can provide cheap and reliable energy to the people of Florida.
That said, we are looking at all of the states because some of them have done some brilliant things. I look at the public relations angle of the Pennsylvania model and I am astounded. It was brilliant. People feel proud about the fact that they are making choices. I look at the California model and their public relations side of it. I only talk about that because it is something we get to see quite often. Although it was a beautiful ad campaign, California has never understood what it was about. You look at the system that California has created, its ISO model, and they have replaced the system that was working at very little cost with great cost. You are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.
We want to try to avoid that. All those issues are issues we have to look at before we go to the deep end of the pool. ¼ We have time to look at what works.
What do you think about FERC's NOPR?
I think it is a great working model. I think it gives you