What is happening
State leaders have introduced two bills to control local decisions being made by Gainesville, Jacksonville, Lakeland and dozens of Florida communities with a municipal or publicly-owned utility.
One bill, House Bill 1645, would strip the Gainesville City Commission of its authority over Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and, instead, a Governor-appointed board would gain control. On April 19, 2023, HB 1645 passed out of the State Affairs Committee and is headed to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
A second bill, HB 1331, limits local control of all municipal electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities across the state. Specifically, the bill limits the funding that municipal utilities can allocate to local governments. These limits could have devastating effects on local government budgets and operations such as police and fire departments.
We must join together to stop the Tallahassee power grab! Urge legislators to say “NO!” to a state attack on GRU, JEA and dozens of locally-owned municipal utilities!
Why we need to stop the Tallahassee power grab
These bills are not in the best interest of local customer-owners of these municipal utilities. Municipal utilities in Florida have a history of lower utility bills and better service than investor-owned, private utilities.1 State leaders with ties to investor-owned utilities are ignoring the will of Floridians to control their own utilities. In Gainesville, 60% of the community already voted down this idea in 2018. In Jacksonville, residents fought the corrupt scheme to sell JEA to FP&L. These bills would also:
- Likely trigger higher utility bills for customers
- Threaten local jobs
- Allow the state government to steal control from local residents
- Disrupt the municipal budget and pose a threat to funds used to support police and fire departments.
Now is the time to protect your energy rights and to protect local control of municipal utilities.
What you can do to protect local energy rights
Send a message to your legislators and the Speaker of the House. Tell them to oppose state attacks on publicly-owned utilities.