Florida Power And Light Residential Electricity — deposit requirement
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!
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