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Florida Power And Light Residential Electricity / deposit requirement

1 PO Box 025576, Miami, FL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 941-917-0512

Re: florida power and light residential deposit requirements and policies

To whom it may concern:

I am writing you regarding florida power and light’s (Fpl) deposit policy for residential service in manatee county florida. Like millions of people in the united states and hundreds of thousands of people in florida, I have been impacted by the slow economy. I consider myself to be middle-class. My profession of 16 years has been commission sales. The economy has tremendous impact on both my customers’ purchasing decisions and my income.

My specific area of complaint is fpl’s current policy to charge a deposit up to 3 times an average monthly bill for “delinquent”, “at-risk”, “problem” customers. Their policy is to penalize florida residents for late payments, returned checks, and non-payment on their electric bill.in my specific case to avoid “interruption” of my service (Turning out the lights until payment is received) resulting from current intermittent financial hardships, I am required to make a “deposit” of $790.00. Ironically, my inability to pay my $250.00 bill several months ago that has long been paid, now requires a deposit of $790.00 that I do not have. As a resident of manatee county florida, I have no alternatives for electricity providers. Essentially, I am a victim of a monopoly that has a profound negative impact on fpl customers and manatee county florida residents.

The deposit policies that are in place by fpl are non-negotiable and strictly enforced by rude and sometimes belligerent fpl employee’s some of which are most likely experiencing the same hardships that my family has encountered. Fpl strives to find alternatives and assistance programs that they direct their customers to, but none of these are fpl entities. These organizations are community based non-profits that offer assistance to people in dire straits. Fpl does subsidize some of these programs and I have actually donated time and money (Under better financial circumstances) to these same organizations. However, based on my income level and the amount of my deposit, it is laughable to them when I phone for assistance. They just don’t have the money to assist fpl customers with funds for a deposit, and can only assist fpl customers with nominal bills.

Manatee county residents have tough decisions to make when it comes to paying their fpl bill or providing necessities that impact and their families which include:
• feeding themselves and their children (Milk, dinner, or fpl?)
• paying their mortgage or rent (Foreclosure, homelessness, or fpl?)
• going to the doctor (Bronchitis, pneumonia, cancer diagnosis, or fpl?)
• buying prescriptions (Blood pressure, asthma, oral chemotherapy or fpl?)
• required medical procedures and follow-up appointments (Bone marrow biopsy, blood work, treatment results or fpl?)
• gas in the car for work, bus money, carpool or fpl?

And on and on.

In contrast to fpl’s practices, manatee county residents do receive assistance and relief (Even if only emotional), from companies that provide most products and/or services and are not immediately directed to community based organizations or be faced with excruciating decisions that have a profound negative impact to their daily lives. Non-profit and community based programs along with residents of manatee county florida would be better served if non-profits applied their limited resources to provide assistance to the above mentioned scenarios. These organizations were formed to assist in the above mentioned points, not to pay money into a “deposit account” to cover an outstanding balance to fpl in the event someone may not pay their bill and move from an fpl service area.

In my particular case, I have received negotiable re-payment terms (That I have kept) that fit my budget but no deposit requirement from the providers of other essential and chosen services for my family. These include mortgage, auto, credit cards, phone, water, gas (Teco) etc…mortgage, auto, phone, and credit cards (Choices), water and gas (Are essentials). But they all have been willing to make arrangements with their customers experiencing financial hardship that will provide long term solutions and avoid an immediate loss of a necessary requirement power. Unlike fpl that demands a payment amount equal to 3 months worth of a service that has not yet been provided, for a bill that I am already having an issue paying the face value amount of. Plus, given 30-45 days to come up with that money at the risk of the lights being turned out.

My complaints are common but above all reasonable:
• if I struggle to come up with 1 month’s worth of payment, how in america the greatest country on earth, can any government or public entity approve of this deposit practice when there are no alternative choices?
• since fpl turns off my power for a 30/60 day past due account or “non-payment” for a provided service and I pay the re-connect fee, why am I required to pay a deposit that fpl states can never be applied to an outstanding invoice unless I move or have 14 months of on-time payments?
• in order to restore service when my power is turned off, I must pay the past due amount. That makes sense. To have my service shut off because of non-payment and the inability to come up with a 3 month deposit is incomprehensible.
• why can’t fpl add 5, 10, 20 dollars per month to their “at risk” customers monthly invoices up to a reasonable 30 day deposit as an alternative if a deposit is absolutely necessary?

I sit here typing this letter, stressed out over the prospect of my power being shut off today, tomorrow, or the next day because I cannot pay my $1, 169.98 fpl bill that is including the $790.00 deposit. I will have my current months $379.98 payment this friday or next, but not the $790.00 deposit. So I must make the choice in the coming hours, days and weeks. Can I pay a deposit for electricity that I have not yet used in my $790.00 fpl deposit at the risk of sacrificing my home, car, fuel, employment, food, medication, water, toothpaste, hospitalization from not being able to afford medication, foreclosure, mold in the house from non-air conditioning in florida, asthma attack from mold, brakes for the car, or my front headlight?

Above all of this, I have been an fpl customer in good standing for almost 10 years. Does that not account for anything? Please help!

Sincerely,
Austin kastner

Au
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Comments

  • Ff
      9th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I would just like to follow up my previous post with some good news. I called Ellen Plendl
    Regulatory Specialist
    Public Service Commission
    Division of Service, Safety & Consumer Assistance
    850-413-6123 (phone)
    850-413-6124 (fax)

    like some on this board suggested and they were able to help me reach an agreement with FPL. I don't believe this could have happened without the help of the PCS. So thanks Ellen! I really can't thank you enough for helping me out. I appreciate your understanding, and empathy more than anything. Times are tough, and it's not always easy asking for help. You definitely made it painless and your response time was great. Thanks again!

  • Sh
      4th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am with you 100%! I have been unemployed for about a month and have tried to work out something with FPL. I am a single mom and I have no family to support us except myself. I live in Palm Beach County which of course is more expensive than one could imagine. I'm trying to get out of here as it is. Anyway, I asked to be put on their payment plan however they wanted my bill current to be put on it. So, I got on the payment plan now my bills are higher than before. Long story short. I called FPL yesterday to get them to hold off shutting me off until this Friday. They said I had until TODAY, 11/4/08 to make the payment. To me, that means I have until midnight to make this payment. Guess what? They went to my home, I was not there but my CHILD was. My MINOR child. They asked if I was home and my child said no. So, they TOLD MY CHILD how much my bill was and that they had to shut off my power. THEY TOLD A MINOR CHILD THIS! So guess what? My child sat in the dark for an hour until I got home. I am livid, I mean livid! I now have to come up with some crazy amount to get my power back on and I can't do it until Friday. And that's supposed to be ok with FPL? How screwed up is our country.

  • Ca
      7th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I strongly agree with all of the complaints on this site. I have been an FPL customer for 20 years. I have been late a few times, but never have I been shut off. Yesterday I received a bill from FPL for a deposit for almost $500 because of two late payments in the past I believe six months. I called and asked to spread the payments over a longer amount of time and they said no. I asked about an extension to pay and they said possibly but it would only be for a few days. My husband hasn't worked since May of 2007 due to health reasons and also just not being able to find any kind of work. I have a full time job and I don't even make enough money to pay for our mortage, utilities, gas for the car, groceries, medications, etc. We have not been able to pay our mortgage since April of 2008. We never have any money left over and often have very little in the refrigerator and cupboards. I find myself gathering any change we have around the house to buy food. We have begun to sell things on ebay and are trying to sell other larger items but no one has any money to buy anything. I asked the FPL rep how could they expect someone who can't pay their electric bill to come up with ANOTHER $500 in four weeks. She said I don't know. I asked about speaking to a supervisor and she said there was nothing anyone else could do for me. I am current on my bill now but I have a payment due of $256 on November 18. Then they are asking for this deposit of almost $500 due on December 4. I just don't know where to turn. I called one of their agencies for "help" but they say they have no more money to give anyone help, not to mention I am not at "poverty" level so they couldn't help me anyway. I have been borrowing money from family members, but they too are all tapped out. FPL has a monopoly on the electricity in our area, and until there is some competition, they can just do whatever they want. There must be something we can do - a classs action lawsuit perhaps. Please Please any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • Ca
      7th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I also have good news! I contacted Ms. Plendl at the PSC. She immediately took my call and listened to my problem. She put me on hold and contacted FPL and got a supervisor on the line with me. The supervisor at FPL resolved my situation much to my satisfaction. PLEASE PLEASE if you are having a problem like mine with a deposit that you cannot afford to pay, contact the PSC at 1-800-342-3552, option 2. Anyone in that department is qualified to help you with your problem. I really thought the situation was hopeless, but I was wrong! Please don't give up. Best to all of you and thank you again Ms. Plendl!

  • Ha
      19th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I want to thank everyone here for the FL PSC information. I was unsure how I would pay this $300+ deposit that FPL wanted, but the PSC helped me get it straightened out in about 10 minutes. Perhaps the Holidays won't be quite as bleak as I had thought.

    H-

  • Va
      20th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    F, Fpl there must be a way to fight this I to am in the same boat as others and must come up with a deposit only because I was late on one payment. I just want to know One thing How does the CEO of this company sleep at night? On stacks of Money I am sure that One one day I will have a choice and I will remember this. Thanks,
    Vann

  • Co
      21st of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    PEOPLE.. LETS FILE A CLASS ACTION
    I am in the same situation. I have been a loyal customer of FPL for 14 years now and due to the economy and my mother's illness last year, I started to have financial problems. I have never been disconnected but since my last few payments were late, I was billed a deposit of $583.00, which is due today. I called FPL to ask them if I could have an extention and they said flat out no and it was policy and that was it. I was told I must make my payment of $800.00 which is the pastdue and my deposit. I told them I just wanted to have an extention until Monday, so i could try to get help... the rep told me I couldn't. I just went online and made a payment of $100.00 and guess what??? IT ALLOWED ME TO GET AN EXTENTION UNTIL NOV 26TH?? This is wrong, I was crying on the phone to this rep and now that a payment went thru it allowed me to make an extention? I don't know about anyone else but it seems to me that we have enough FPL cusotmer's and I am sure there are more of us to really sock it to this company. They think they cando what ever they want because there is no competition. They have raised rates and next year they will again. I am sick and tired of being ripped off by this company. If I am having a problem paying my bill in the first place, how the heck can they add on another almost $600 to my bill. They are really sick and it's about time we spoke out. Do you know how they come up with your deposit bill. They take your highest bills through the entire year and that your deposit. If they really cared about their customer's they wouldn't do this. It's all about money and they don't give a crap if you are sick, disabled have children, dying.. THEY DON'T CARE! One person can't do this but if a whole lot of people get involved then it will be heard.

  • Co
      21st of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I forgot to mention that I called a number that FPL gave me for assistance and they told me that Coral Springs does not have funding for helping FPL customers at risk!!! HOW CAN THAT BE? We have new buildings going up all over the place that by the way my tax $ pay for and the funding pays for but they have no money to help their citizens. This situation in America is a digrace to what the world once was.

    Where is all the money anyway? Makes me wonder.. Maybe it's in someone pocket???

  • To
      4th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree strongly that FPL is engaged in price gouging and abusive policies that hurt families and small business that are most affected by the current economic crises. They charged me a $763 deposit and they have refused to allow me to pay automatically through my bank account. They are completely unresponsive and they look for any excuse to raise your deposit level and make it more difficult to pay.

    I am glad that I found this site and I encourage everyone else who has been victimized by these abusive FPL policies to contact the PSC and complain.

    It is completely inappropriate and unacceptable for a monopoly like FPL to abuse their position and hurt the most vulnerable people in our community during this difficult economic recession.

    I hope that someone at PSC will send a message to FPL and make them change their policies.

  • An
      19th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    This is totally unfair. We are a small business in South Miami, Florida and were hit with this additional deposit. Last week our electricity was out for 4 hours in the afternoon, perhaps we should ask for a guarantee deposit from FPL.

  • Cs
      22nd of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    I think this is outrageous, I'm an existing customer with FPL, I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I'm about to move into a new place, I called FPL to get the Service turned on and I was told that I need to come up with 450.00 to have the services turned on.

    I need to have this deposit before they will come out and turn the service on. I dont have 450.00, not when I just paid 3700 to move into this place (which I am moving into on June 1), but if I cant get the light on, then I cant move. What am I supposed to do??? I am a single Grandmother, raising 2 kids, 1 with a disability.

    I havent had any late payments, I closed my account about 8 months ago, to live with my daughter and help her. I got my original deposit back from FPL which was 280.00. Why has the amount of the deposit doubled??? and why cant they add the deposit into my monthly bill, like they did the last time I had electric services? How do they expect you to come up with all of this money at one time? Do any one of you know of an agency that can help me come up with the 450.00 Deposit required by FPL??? I cant move into my new place without electricity

  • Ka
      26th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    I absolutely agree with everyone here. I live in Collier County. I have luckily been forutate and have been able to keep my finances afloat... until FPL. I moved 1 and a half months ago, and used FPL's online service to transfer to my new apartment and cancel the previous. When I cancelled the old address, they would not let me pay the bill online. When I called in to ask how to pay my previous address bill to "0" the operator told me it would transfer to my new bill within 2-4 weeks. 2 weeks later I got a bill for ONLY my new address. I mailed a check immediately for $60.25 paid in full. 30 days later they finally cashed my check as an ACH payment (05/08/2009). Since I had transferred my address on my checking account and had all new account #'s the check was returned. I received an email and immediately called the bank who apologized and fixed the situation and called FPL who said they would "take care of it" and for me to resend payment. FPL however (adding on my previous address bill) disconnected my power (05/14/2009). I received a bill then for $188.00 on the meter in which i could pay "CASH ONLY" with a $17.95 reconnect fee. I called FPL. My first question, why had I not received a bill with this amount due. Second question, why had I not received a bill AT ALL. They have no paystations with in 30 miles of me in which you can pay CASH (money orders and bank checks do not work). You can use Western Union though. (Western Union only accepts MasterCard and Discover) I had to pay a $25 fee to use a VISA and Set up an account. 05/18/2009, I received a 1st disconnect notice of $188 (a little late). 05/20/2009 I received a FINAL DISCONNECT notice. As of 05/21/2009 the day I was leaving for vacation, my payment through Western Union had not posted and I received a letter in the mail with an FPL bill for $526.00. (My average monthly bill on ONE place was only $70 though this did not include FEES). Today is 05/26/2009 and I have again received a disconnect notice and have yet to have power restored.


    05/21/2009 (here is the ironic overlap). My boyfriend and I live in separate residences. We both have very good jobs and pay our bills religiously. Before we left for vacation, he made sure all payments had been paid. 05/22/2009 as we are accross the country on vacation, the dog sitter calls to inform us that his power has been turned off. He immediately called FPL to report an outage and was informed that his account showed "CLOSED". Obviously irritated he inquired as to how the account was "CLOSED" when he had obviously not requested that. They did not know. He asked them to correct the situation and restore power immediately as we had 2 dogs there and it was extremely hot and dangerous for them to be left there. He was then informed that they would have to open a new account and he needed to pay a $200 deposit. Also in order for them to expedite the reconnect, he would have to pay through "WESTERN UNION" and again, not having a MASTERCARD or DISCOVER CARD, he would have to pay the $25.00 wait an hour and call back the MAIN number with his receipt #. After 3 hours hassling around searching for a computer getting to a phone where we could sit on hold, we were able to call back give them the number and inform the dog sitter that the power would be restored. We received a reconnect confirmation and decided to work it out when we returned. We called 3 times daily from 05/22/2009-05/25/2009. The power was never reconnected and we were forced to spend even more money to have the dogs cared for. The excuse we received on 05/26/2009, was that they had no ACCESS to reconnect the power, yet they had no problem getting access 4 days earlier to disconnect service. The service "MANAGER" hung up as she could do nothing to resolve the situation.

    And this company is not a monopoly.

  • He
      9th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I agree with everyone that is commenting on this bulletin. FPL has made this industry such a monopoly, residents have no choice, but to pay the additional deposits, which are very unnecessary. This country is in distress right now and Florida residents do not have any reprieve. I was forced to move out of my apartment because the landlord went into foreclosure without my knowledge. Of course I paid rent up to the last day. When I left I was told by the real estate agency that the all services will be switched over into the proper name. And because I was so distraught and busy trying to find a place for my family, it never dawned on me to check if the electricity was changed. So when I found a new place, I had a large balance that I was unable to prove was not my services. FPL was asking for specific documents proving the date I left the premises and there were no documents to prove that. So I ended having to pay the bill. Because of the situation, an FPL supervisor spread the payments over 3 months.

    I complied with all of the payments, and the lights were still disconnected because now I was late with the current bill. I paid my deposit of 120.00, I paid two bills late because of this arrangement that was made on the old bills, which are technically not my services, but if I did not pay it, my family would be without power. I struggled to pay the electric bill because I still needed to come up with money to find a place for my family and I move.

    Needless to say, the struggle was null and void because I received an additional deposit of 119.00. What! Seriously if I am struggling to pay my monthly bill, how am I going to pay an additional deposit. The customer services agents are rude and really do not care about your situation.

    So after two late payments, you are billed an additional deposit because you cannot afford to pay your bill on time. FPL is already charging a late fee. That should cover the late fee expenses and should be enough compensation.

    I work for Emergency Services and provide the utmost care to very sick people all the time and provide safety and medical care to the community and now I cannot get any assistance during hard times. I am almost ashamed of the choice I made to serve my community and when needed, no one can regulate or provide services to us who give back to our community everyday. Sad, sad, sad...I am going to email everyone in Broward County until I find an answer.

  • Gi
      23rd of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    Ever since the Government stopped regulating FPL the price of electricity has just sky rocketed. The girl on the phone told me FPL has not changed since the 80's and that it is the fault of fuel costs and that FPL cannot control fuel prices. They slapped me with a deposit of 350 after not making my bill on time, they will give you an extension maybe but not always. They send their service techs to disconnect you with an unfriendly attitude and demand payment there and then not giving you even an hour or so to see if you can come up with the money. Times are hard, yes, I have 3 kids and my husband's job was very slow, if it wasn't for family helping out we would have been without power in 90 degree heat and 3 small children..do they give a crap? hell no, you can beg, cry all you want they just want their money. The Government should have some kind of service plan for people with children and disabilities and low income where you only pay a certain percent of the bill and no deposit and an extension or waver or something if you cannot come up with the money right away. “When our power plants operate more efficiently, they use less fuel. And when our plants use less fuel, customers save so we are told..yeah like five bucks or so which is really noticeable on the bill right? The rich are greedy and that has a lot to do with why the economy is so bad..greed. Heavily tax those SOB's and help the us struggling poor people with families, illness and hardship.

  • Vl
      29th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I agree. FPL needs to be taken down off their high horse..If there is a class action suit against them I would like to know Enough is enough.

  • La
      16th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Everyone here needs to file a complaint with the F.T.C Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov/ to get these greedy ### to change their policies. Something needs to be done about this. If enough people start to complain they have to reply.

    From the FTC website:
    The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.

    When the FTC was created in 1914, its purpose was to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce as part of the battle to “bust the trusts.” Over the years, Congress passed additional laws giving the agency greater authority to police anticompetitive practices. In 1938, Congress passed a broad prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices.” Since then, the Commission also has been directed to administer a wide variety of other consumer protection laws, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. In 1975, Congress gave the FTC the authority to adopt industry-wide trade regulation rules. The FTC’s work is performed by the Bureaus of Consumer Protection, Competition and Economics. That work is aided by the Office of General Counsel and seven regional offices.

    Learn more about the FTC...http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/general/gen03.shtm

    File a Complaint: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

  • Co
      30th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    Let's do something about together, it is time. We must contact every legislative body that we can to see to it that FPL doesn't take advantage of any more Floridians. I have written President Obama and I will now go down the chain to our Governor and so on and so forth. This is only causing our economy to be worse as we are having to decide on whether to pay a mortgage payment or electric deposit. Many of us are choosing to pay the deposit to take care of our families by providing food for them because without power it is hard to cook and store the food. I will make this my mission to see to it that FPL stops this unethical practice.

  • Fp
      21st of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    FPL in Miami sucks. They have cut me off for a nominal bill and even calling for an extension. I laugh at you for trying to get an extension to pay in 2, 3 or even 4 days. THey will laugh at you too because chances of an extension are 0 none zilch your cooked if you were late just 1 time or dont keep a prior extension because of economical situations.

    For everyone reading this though there is good news. Turning your power back on and fighting back is easy if you know how to put it back on. They have no way of knowing how, why or what turned it on and as long as they dont read my blog I can tell you how

    *********read with caution****** I do not condone doing this in place of paying a bill, but only wen these [censor] shut you off and you need power to survive.

    This may not always work so I wish you luck, but if you go to where your meter is and you carefully pull the actual meter housing out and down it basically unplugs like a house plug. There is a little switch on the bottom left you can switch it on and then flip your main breaker on...thats it your back on. Remember to plug back your meter so they dont catch you in the act.

    *****note*** it is against florida law to do this and restore your own power...so they say, but you can just tell them there was a power outage nearby and an fpl worker made a stop to turn it on and helped out.

    good luck I hope that helps many people in dire need.

  • Fa
      17th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have been wrung through the coals with EPl too. It is time for this monopoly to stop. Anyone who has been wrong by FPL should get together in their towns and hold a meeting. If each town should gets together with other towns until all of Florida can protest the unfair practices of FPL. If Martin Luther King did it, we can too.Many people sit by and let other people do the work. If you are piss off like I am, I think it is about time we should all get together. Put an ad in the Pennysaver. Signing off ( fair energy)

  • Le
      5th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    It is a complete monopoly, they have given me two deposits to pay because I was late for two consecutive payments. Helppp

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