The 30-year franchise agreement between LCEC and the City of Cape Coral expires in 2016. Understandably, City leaders are conducting their due diligence to explore all options available to them. This includes the potential for a City purchase of LCEC’s utility system in the City and creation of a municipal electric utility, which the City’s consultants have estimated will cost approximately $425 million. LCEC strongly believes that a renewed franchise agreement, assuring continued electric service from LCEC, is in the best interest of the City and our customers.
We are proud of the service LCEC has provided to Cape Coral for nearly 60 years. LCEC has a history of providing quality service, outstanding reliability, and competitive rates. LCEC has not raised rates in seven years and, in fact, reduced rates three times in two years. Our rates are among the lowest in Florida and 11.6 percent below the state average.
LCEC is concerned about the risks involved with the City forming a municipal electric utility. The sale of an electric utility is a complex and very costly endeavor and would require the City to take on nearly half a billion dollars in new debt. A joint effort to discuss renewal of the franchise agreement and explore the option of a sale is currently underway.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, LCEC is not motivated by profit but instead by service to customers. Margins are returned to members, who are our customers. For-profit, investor-owned utilities must earn a return for their shareholders, and utilities operated by municipalities utilize earnings in general funds to potentially be spent on other projects and programs.
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