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Give Lakeland Electric Less of Your Money

January 28th, 2009 5:39 am | by

No time this morning to do much of an original post, but the information is good, so I wanted to be sure and share it. LA Times Green recently sent out a Tweet about how to save energy in your home. It’s brief and well worth the read.

You always seem to hear someone complaining about the Lakeland Electric rates, so it’s nice to know there are some simple ways you can do your part to conserve and keep your bill under control a bit more.

I started unplugging things like my Kitchenaid Mixer and coffee pot a while back. I really don’t need to look at my coffee pot to tell the time.

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40 Responses to “Give Lakeland Electric Less of Your Money”

  1. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Lorrie – These are good points.

    I find it amazing just how ridiculous Lakeland Electric’s rates are, especially after I moved out of Lakeland. I went from $600+ month there to $125/month here. Same stuff, slightly smaller place, literally less than 1/4 of the bill. I even had two energy audits done (one from lakeland electric for free, then one I paid for from an independent company) and neither of them found any issue with the houses I was living in (all 3 of them while I was in Lakeland). It’s just THAT expensive to get electricity there.

    I do miss a few things about Lakeland, but the electric bill made it too hard to stomach, so I left.

  2. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Lorrie – These are good points.

    I find it amazing just how ridiculous Lakeland Electric’s rates are, especially after I moved out of Lakeland. I went from $600+ month there to $125/month here. Same stuff, slightly smaller place, literally less than 1/4 of the bill. I even had two energy audits done (one from lakeland electric for free, then one I paid for from an independent company) and neither of them found any issue with the houses I was living in (all 3 of them while I was in Lakeland). It’s just THAT expensive to get electricity there.

    I do miss a few things about Lakeland, but the electric bill made it too hard to stomach, so I left.

  3. Al Says:

    One reason Lakeland Electric’s “rates” are as they are is that the City uses Lakeland Electric to keep the property taxes artificially low.  This is done by setting the “dividend” and by continuing to tax customers outside the city with a surcharge on top of a share of the dividend.

    This year the City will do a “Rate Study” to set future electric rates.  If history repeats, all of the important decisions will be made before the Electric Comittee or the public becomes involved.  It’s the “assumptions” and the “policy decisions” made by the City Commission and the Staff that drive the results of the study — and therefore what we pay for electricity.  But those things never saw the sunshine until the study was almost complete last time — and they won’t this time either — unless the customers demand it.

    Those that really care about their electric bills need to start showing up at Commission and Utility Committee meetingsd, ask hard questions, and demand candid answers.

    Customers outside the City take the largest hit since they get no benefit from the surcharge or the dividend but also pay County ublic Service Taxes (which support city residents as well even though they are exempt from the tax).

    This is a truly shameful situation that may have have had some justification 100 years ago but which has no place in 21st century Polk County.

  4. Al Says:

    One reason Lakeland Electric’s “rates” are as they are is that the City uses Lakeland Electric to keep the property taxes artificially low.  This is done by setting the “dividend” and by continuing to tax customers outside the city with a surcharge on top of a share of the dividend.

    This year the City will do a “Rate Study” to set future electric rates.  If history repeats, all of the important decisions will be made before the Electric Comittee or the public becomes involved.  It’s the “assumptions” and the “policy decisions” made by the City Commission and the Staff that drive the results of the study — and therefore what we pay for electricity.  But those things never saw the sunshine until the study was almost complete last time — and they won’t this time either — unless the customers demand it.

    Those that really care about their electric bills need to start showing up at Commission and Utility Committee meetingsd, ask hard questions, and demand candid answers.

    Customers outside the City take the largest hit since they get no benefit from the surcharge or the dividend but also pay County ublic Service Taxes (which support city residents as well even though they are exempt from the tax).

    This is a truly shameful situation that may have have had some justification 100 years ago but which has no place in 21st century Polk County.

  5. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Al – The worst part of this is that many people, myself included when I lived in Lakeland, are renters and are paying the offset for property we didn’t own. In fact, my entire neighborhood was composed of renters. It simply didn’t make sense to buy a house in a place that was raping us constantly with high electric cost.

    So it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Really high taxes for home owners or really high electric rates for everyone. Seems like a lose-lose situation to me.

  6. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Al – The worst part of this is that many people, myself included when I lived in Lakeland, are renters and are paying the offset for property we didn’t own. In fact, my entire neighborhood was composed of renters. It simply didn’t make sense to buy a house in a place that was raping us constantly with high electric cost.

    So it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Really high taxes for home owners or really high electric rates for everyone. Seems like a lose-lose situation to me.

  7. Al Says:

    Dennis,

    I take your point.  But, actually, there’s a very fair solution — the same one that we’d have if LE were investor owned.

    We need to set the electric rates for each category of service based on the cost of producing the service, transmitting the power, maintaining the system, etc.  There should be NO difference in rates within category (i.e. ALL residential customers pay the same rate).

    On top of that, taxes are added and collected based on jurisdiction (City residents pay the City Utility Tax, County Residents pay the County Public Service Tax, everyone pays State taxes, etc.).

    The City is also entitled to collect a “dividend” in lieu of taxes and franchise fees that it would receive if LE were an investor owned utility (IOU) operating within the City Limits.  So the City Commission could choose to add that to the bills of CITY RESIDENTS ONLY — because that’s all they could tax or impose a franchise fee in the case of an IOU.

    What happens now is that out-of-city customers are charged a surcharge (for which they get NO benefit) strictly because the City Commission can get away with it.  Similarly, the Commission Charges out-of-city customers part of the dividend even though they’re not in the city’s jurisdiction — and they can get away with it.  And, as you pointed out, renters pay property taxes in the form of inflated electric bills.

    In every case, renters pay property tax as part of the rent payments that they make to their landlords.  We’ve all done it and that’s a legitimate part of the rent cost.  What’s not legitimate is for people who don’t own property in the City to pay de facto property taxes in their electric bills which have nothing to do with the taxable value of the property.

    Since out-of-city customers make up around two-thirds of LE’s customer base, the windfall that the city fathers are taking from people outside of their jurisdiction is substantial — around $7 million per year in surcharges and $16 million of the current $24 million dividend.

    This is not a LE problem.  This is a City Commission problem. And, it’s not likely to get solved until enough of us peasants show up with our pitchforks and torches (figuratively of course) at enough Commission meetings to force a fair solution.

    The time to fix this is now — as the new rate study is kicking off — before all of these bogus charges get built in.

  8. Al Says:

    Dennis,

    I take your point.  But, actually, there’s a very fair solution — the same one that we’d have if LE were investor owned.

    We need to set the electric rates for each category of service based on the cost of producing the service, transmitting the power, maintaining the system, etc.  There should be NO difference in rates within category (i.e. ALL residential customers pay the same rate).

    On top of that, taxes are added and collected based on jurisdiction (City residents pay the City Utility Tax, County Residents pay the County Public Service Tax, everyone pays State taxes, etc.).

    The City is also entitled to collect a “dividend” in lieu of taxes and franchise fees that it would receive if LE were an investor owned utility (IOU) operating within the City Limits.  So the City Commission could choose to add that to the bills of CITY RESIDENTS ONLY — because that’s all they could tax or impose a franchise fee in the case of an IOU.

    What happens now is that out-of-city customers are charged a surcharge (for which they get NO benefit) strictly because the City Commission can get away with it.  Similarly, the Commission Charges out-of-city customers part of the dividend even though they’re not in the city’s jurisdiction — and they can get away with it.  And, as you pointed out, renters pay property taxes in the form of inflated electric bills.

    In every case, renters pay property tax as part of the rent payments that they make to their landlords.  We’ve all done it and that’s a legitimate part of the rent cost.  What’s not legitimate is for people who don’t own property in the City to pay de facto property taxes in their electric bills which have nothing to do with the taxable value of the property.

    Since out-of-city customers make up around two-thirds of LE’s customer base, the windfall that the city fathers are taking from people outside of their jurisdiction is substantial — around $7 million per year in surcharges and $16 million of the current $24 million dividend.

    This is not a LE problem.  This is a City Commission problem. And, it’s not likely to get solved until enough of us peasants show up with our pitchforks and torches (figuratively of course) at enough Commission meetings to force a fair solution.

    The time to fix this is now — as the new rate study is kicking off — before all of these bogus charges get built in.

  9. Jennifer Says:

    My electric bills run six hundred dollars a month. I have three children and lost my job last month we went with out electric for 9 days because they will only give you a extension every 90 days. I ended up paying my seven hundred dollar bill(that is for 1 month)and putting three hundred on the next bill(which is a six hundred dollar bill)called lakeland electric and asked to extend the rest until the 27th(my bill is due on the 24th so only 3 days). They told me no i can not get a extension until next month. That to me is crazy they are sucking me dry,I have lost my phone because i could not pay it because my electric bill is so high behind on my rent because i have to pay my electric bill and to top it all off even thought I have paid nine hundred dollars to them in the past thirty days and only have three hundred left i will have to go without electric again for 3 days because they act like they are gonna go broke if thay give you extensions. Thay treat us like this because we need electric so we have no options put to give up other bill money and grocery money to keep our electric on. I do not see how the comissioners of lakeland can sleep at night.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    My electric bills run six hundred dollars a month. I have three children and lost my job last month we went with out electric for 9 days because they will only give you a extension every 90 days. I ended up paying my seven hundred dollar bill(that is for 1 month)and putting three hundred on the next bill(which is a six hundred dollar bill)called lakeland electric and asked to extend the rest until the 27th(my bill is due on the 24th so only 3 days). They told me no i can not get a extension until next month. That to me is crazy they are sucking me dry,I have lost my phone because i could not pay it because my electric bill is so high behind on my rent because i have to pay my electric bill and to top it all off even thought I have paid nine hundred dollars to them in the past thirty days and only have three hundred left i will have to go without electric again for 3 days because they act like they are gonna go broke if thay give you extensions. Thay treat us like this because we need electric so we have no options put to give up other bill money and grocery money to keep our electric on. I do not see how the comissioners of lakeland can sleep at night.

  11. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Jennifer – That’s the main reason I got out of Lakeland. In Tampa, even with my heat running full blast last month and lots of gadgets, my electric bill was only $200. With the heat and A/C off, it runs about $100/month here.

    When I was in Lakeland, I was in four different houses over 3 years and I never once had an electric bill under $300. Most of them ran in the same area yours are… $600+/month. I had a place over by Lake Morton with NO A/C, I never used the stove, no washer/dryer, etc. and my bills were still consistently over $400/month. I don’t see how people can do that.

  12. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Jennifer – That’s the main reason I got out of Lakeland. In Tampa, even with my heat running full blast last month and lots of gadgets, my electric bill was only $200. With the heat and A/C off, it runs about $100/month here.

    When I was in Lakeland, I was in four different houses over 3 years and I never once had an electric bill under $300. Most of them ran in the same area yours are… $600+/month. I had a place over by Lake Morton with NO A/C, I never used the stove, no washer/dryer, etc. and my bills were still consistently over $400/month. I don’t see how people can do that.

  13. Jennifer Says:

    Denis- That is crazy your electric bill ran that high. They really are sucking everyone dry. I really do want to get out of the lakeland area but my children are all in school one in highschool so i do not want to move them right now so I am pretty much stuck. I really do not see how they get away with this.

  14. Jennifer Says:

    Denis- That is crazy your electric bill ran that high. They really are sucking everyone dry. I really do want to get out of the lakeland area but my children are all in school one in highschool so i do not want to move them right now so I am pretty much stuck. I really do not see how they get away with this.

  15. Denis Baldwin Says:

    They get away with it because they are a city-owned municipality and can set the rules to anything they like. They artificially deflate property taxes by artificially inflating electric costs.

  16. Denis Baldwin Says:

    They get away with it because they are a city-owned municipality and can set the rules to anything they like. They artificially deflate property taxes by artificially inflating electric costs.

  17. Jennifer Says:

    Well i think it is wrong. I do not own any property and most everyone i know rents. I think they should really have some sort of guidelines to follow. Shoot, I will never own nothing if i have to keep paying these electric bills. The thing that gets me is these days everyone needs help and even more time to pay bills and they will not even give you a extension but once every 90 days. Plus i got a deposit increase of eighthundred dollars so that is a extra onehundred forty three dollars a month until it is paid off. Can you believe it? so I guess heres’ to goin without electric again for a couple of days.

  18. Jennifer Says:

    Well i think it is wrong. I do not own any property and most everyone i know rents. I think they should really have some sort of guidelines to follow. Shoot, I will never own nothing if i have to keep paying these electric bills. The thing that gets me is these days everyone needs help and even more time to pay bills and they will not even give you a extension but once every 90 days. Plus i got a deposit increase of eighthundred dollars so that is a extra onehundred forty three dollars a month until it is paid off. Can you believe it? so I guess heres’ to goin without electric again for a couple of days.

  19. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Jennifer – I know you say your kids are in school, but could you move and then drive them to school in Lakeland? Wouldn’t that be cheaper in the long run?

    Also, I agree with you about the property. I don’t know ANY home owners these days. Everyone I know rents because the housing market is so screwed up.

  20. Denis Baldwin Says:

    Jennifer – I know you say your kids are in school, but could you move and then drive them to school in Lakeland? Wouldn’t that be cheaper in the long run?

    Also, I agree with you about the property. I don’t know ANY home owners these days. Everyone I know rents because the housing market is so screwed up.

  21. Jennifer Says:

    Yes I could,but there would be alot of details to work out see one goes to school at 7a.m. to 2p.m. and the other two goes to school at 9a.m. and don’t get out until 3:40. Plus I still have to go back to work as soon as i find a job which is very hard to do right now. well all i can say is i am watching my electric meter very carefully but, really I do not know what I can do because My children and I are very much aware of shutting off lights,fans, t.vs’, not running a/c not taking to long of showers there really is nothing more we can do expect sit in the dark.(lol).

  22. Jennifer Says:

    Yes I could,but there would be alot of details to work out see one goes to school at 7a.m. to 2p.m. and the other two goes to school at 9a.m. and don’t get out until 3:40. Plus I still have to go back to work as soon as i find a job which is very hard to do right now. well all i can say is i am watching my electric meter very carefully but, really I do not know what I can do because My children and I are very much aware of shutting off lights,fans, t.vs’, not running a/c not taking to long of showers there really is nothing more we can do expect sit in the dark.(lol).

  23. L.E. Says:

    You pay for what you use! I read meter for L.E. the numbers don’t lie. In Jenifer’s case she lost her job and has kids, well that means that she was probably home all of the time, right? I watch my usage and I use three times the KW’s on the weekends when Im home that when Im at work. Many factors can cause a big bill. One is leaving doors and windows open. Some people have window a.c. units! Anything that is pluged in uses a lot of electricity! Poor insulation and bad habbits like using the dishwasher when you could hand wash dishes. My bill runs $80 a month because I use my electricity cautiously!

    As for Dennis Lakeland Electric is not out to get everyone, we have hundreds of thousands of miles of power lines and 15 substation and 3 main power plants your little $200 bill wouldn’t cover two flat tires on one city truck.

  24. L.E. Says:

    You pay for what you use! I read meter for L.E. the numbers don’t lie. In Jenifer’s case she lost her job and has kids, well that means that she was probably home all of the time, right? I watch my usage and I use three times the KW’s on the weekends when Im home that when Im at work. Many factors can cause a big bill. One is leaving doors and windows open. Some people have window a.c. units! Anything that is pluged in uses a lot of electricity! Poor insulation and bad habbits like using the dishwasher when you could hand wash dishes. My bill runs $80 a month because I use my electricity cautiously!

    As for Dennis Lakeland Electric is not out to get everyone, we have hundreds of thousands of miles of power lines and 15 substation and 3 main power plants your little $200 bill wouldn’t cover two flat tires on one city truck.

  25. Denis Baldwin Says:

    L.E. Are you saying I should take my revenge by slashing all of your tires? :)

  26. Denis Baldwin Says:

    L.E. Are you saying I should take my revenge by slashing all of your tires? :)

  27. Al Says:

    L.E.

    I don’t think anyone is accusing you or the employees of Lakeland Electric of anything.

    The issue here is that your bosses, the City Commission, establish rates that are patently unfair to customers outside of the City and which are higher than they need to be for city residents IF CHARGES WERE COMPUTED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE COST TO PROVIDE ELECTRICITY (The kinds of things you mentioned).

    Unfortunately, that’s not the case, your Base Rates all include a factor for the “Dividend” (Read that TAX/CITY PROFIT)and for the surcharge that those of of us outside city limits get charged for no good reason except it brings extra revenue into the city.

    If Lakeland citizens are OK with being over-charged for electricity so they can pay a lower property tax, that’s their business. But to impose extra fees on electric rates charged to non-residents who get ZERO BENEFIT is downright unconscionable!

    Personally, I have great of respect and admiration for you guys and gals that work hard to provide dependable electric service 24/7/365. Just be careful not to take ownership of the bad decisions made by the City Commission. That’s not your burden t bear.

  28. Al Says:

    L.E.

    I don’t think anyone is accusing you or the employees of Lakeland Electric of anything.

    The issue here is that your bosses, the City Commission, establish rates that are patently unfair to customers outside of the City and which are higher than they need to be for city residents IF CHARGES WERE COMPUTED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE COST TO PROVIDE ELECTRICITY (The kinds of things you mentioned).

    Unfortunately, that’s not the case, your Base Rates all include a factor for the “Dividend” (Read that TAX/CITY PROFIT)and for the surcharge that those of of us outside city limits get charged for no good reason except it brings extra revenue into the city.

    If Lakeland citizens are OK with being over-charged for electricity so they can pay a lower property tax, that’s their business. But to impose extra fees on electric rates charged to non-residents who get ZERO BENEFIT is downright unconscionable!

    Personally, I have great of respect and admiration for you guys and gals that work hard to provide dependable electric service 24/7/365. Just be careful not to take ownership of the bad decisions made by the City Commission. That’s not your burden t bear.

  29. L.E. Says:

    As corrupt as it all seems the economy is bad and despite all of the money we bring in we also have to spend a lot just to keep in business. If Lakeland Electric had the money that eveyone thinks that we have there would’t be meter readers we would be just like TECO

  30. L.E. Says:

    As corrupt as it all seems the economy is bad and despite all of the money we bring in we also have to spend a lot just to keep in business. If Lakeland Electric had the money that eveyone thinks that we have there would’t be meter readers we would be just like TECO

  31. KS Says:

    Ohhh, LOOK…I just “accidently” got charged an EXTRA $100 on my bill, along with 63,000 others, that I am NOT GETTING BACK! How opportunistic is that…?

    L.E., just curious to how much money you make at that “broke” company you work for

  32. KS Says:

    Ohhh, LOOK…I just “accidently” got charged an EXTRA $100 on my bill, along with 63,000 others, that I am NOT GETTING BACK! How opportunistic is that…?

    L.E., just curious to how much money you make at that “broke” company you work for

  33. D.G. Says:

    I just got a big bill, but I used a lot this month as it has been cold. Yes I stayed indoors, kept the heat on, used dryer, cooked, used dishwasher, tv, etc.
    It seems like LE the company is just hitting the renters up hardest to lower the taxes for property investors. The local renters will move and the snowbirds will stay or freeze up north. Sounds like sound economic policy for property owners to pass the cost to renters. The snowbirds pass the money around. The locals really get nothing as they pay one way or the other.

  34. D.G. Says:

    I just got a big bill, but I used a lot this month as it has been cold. Yes I stayed indoors, kept the heat on, used dryer, cooked, used dishwasher, tv, etc.
    It seems like LE the company is just hitting the renters up hardest to lower the taxes for property investors. The local renters will move and the snowbirds will stay or freeze up north. Sounds like sound economic policy for property owners to pass the cost to renters. The snowbirds pass the money around. The locals really get nothing as they pay one way or the other.

  35. Merlyn Says:

    DG,

    I have a little trouble following your argument. Those of us who own our homes pay the same LE bill that you do AND we pay property taxes on top of that. Renters pay their LE bills AND all renters pay their landlord’s property taxes as part of the rent.

    LE charges are dorked up beyond belief (thanks to the City Commission) but I don’t get the “renters vs. homeowners” issue.

  36. Merlyn Says:

    DG,

    I have a little trouble following your argument. Those of us who own our homes pay the same LE bill that you do AND we pay property taxes on top of that. Renters pay their LE bills AND all renters pay their landlord’s property taxes as part of the rent.

    LE charges are dorked up beyond belief (thanks to the City Commission) but I don’t get the “renters vs. homeowners” issue.

  37. KC Says:

    The reality is that LE rates are some of the lowest in the state at this point in time but that is because natural gas prices dropped over the last year.

    Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience to show the base charge and the fuel charge. This is a practice that most utilities follow. The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within a home or business during a billing cycle. There is no mark-up in fuel.

    It is also a common practice that municipal owned utilities pay a dividend to their respective Cities. Valuable dollars stay within the area and contribute to the community’s quality of life instead of a stock holder’s wallet. If contributions from Lakeland Electric went away tomorrow, the city would have to increase property taxes or drastically reduce city services. Either way, the quality of life enjoyed by the community would suffer and that includes the quality of life for homeowners as well as renters because we all enjoy public safety, clean streets and parks. Also, apartment owners pay property taxes and those taxes are built into rents. If the dividends from community owned utilities went away, property taxes would increase and rents would rise to reflect the change in property taxes.

    I have attached a chart that contains the latest data available so you can see the cost comparisons for area utilities. This data is for residential customers based on 1,000 kWh. You will see that some of the utilities listed have a fuel component built into their base rates such as Leesburg, Ocala and Leesburg. Those marked with an asterisk are investor owned utilities that pay dividends to share holders.

    MONTHLY COMPARISON OF ELECTRIC RATES
    December 2009

    Base Rate Fuel Total
    OCALA 84.63 55.21 139.84
    LEESBURG 86.83 49.75 136.58
    BARTOW 68.52 64.13 132.65
    PROGRESS ENERGY* 72.22 59.36 131.58
    GAINESVILLE 61.45 69.00 130.45
    TALLAHASSEE 64.80 64.70 129.50
    ORLANDO 77.75 42.07 119.82
    TAMPA ELECTRIC* 67.64 50.87 118.51
    KISSIMMEE 93.27 21.34 114.61
    FL POWER & LIGHT* 59.06 55.36 114.43
    LAKELAND 59.54 54.25 113.79
    JACKSONVILLE 66.30 44.16 110.46

  38. KC Says:

    The reality is that LE rates are some of the lowest in the state at this point in time but that is because natural gas prices dropped over the last year.

    Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience to show the base charge and the fuel charge. This is a practice that most utilities follow. The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within a home or business during a billing cycle. There is no mark-up in fuel.

    It is also a common practice that municipal owned utilities pay a dividend to their respective Cities. Valuable dollars stay within the area and contribute to the community’s quality of life instead of a stock holder’s wallet. If contributions from Lakeland Electric went away tomorrow, the city would have to increase property taxes or drastically reduce city services. Either way, the quality of life enjoyed by the community would suffer and that includes the quality of life for homeowners as well as renters because we all enjoy public safety, clean streets and parks. Also, apartment owners pay property taxes and those taxes are built into rents. If the dividends from community owned utilities went away, property taxes would increase and rents would rise to reflect the change in property taxes.

    I have attached a chart that contains the latest data available so you can see the cost comparisons for area utilities. This data is for residential customers based on 1,000 kWh. You will see that some of the utilities listed have a fuel component built into their base rates such as Leesburg, Ocala and Leesburg. Those marked with an asterisk are investor owned utilities that pay dividends to share holders.

    MONTHLY COMPARISON OF ELECTRIC RATES
    December 2009

    Base Rate Fuel Total
    OCALA 84.63 55.21 139.84
    LEESBURG 86.83 49.75 136.58
    BARTOW 68.52 64.13 132.65
    PROGRESS ENERGY* 72.22 59.36 131.58
    GAINESVILLE 61.45 69.00 130.45
    TALLAHASSEE 64.80 64.70 129.50
    ORLANDO 77.75 42.07 119.82
    TAMPA ELECTRIC* 67.64 50.87 118.51
    KISSIMMEE 93.27 21.34 114.61
    FL POWER & LIGHT* 59.06 55.36 114.43
    LAKELAND 59.54 54.25 113.79
    JACKSONVILLE 66.30 44.16 110.46

  39. Al Says:

    “It is also a common practice that municipal owned utilities pay a dividend to their respective Cities.”

    Common practice makes it neither right nor fair — just common!

    “Valuable dollars stay within the area and contribute to the community’s quality of life instead of a stock holder’s wallet.”

    How ’bout the money remaining in the “LE Stockholders’ wallets” instead. The stockholders are all of the rate-payers — not the City. There isn’t a single Lakeland Tax Dollar involved in the utility and hasn’t been in living memory. that makes us the stockholders; not the City Commission.

    “If contributions from Lakeland Electric went away tomorrow, the city would have to increase property taxes or drastically reduce city services. Either way, the quality of life enjoyed by the community would suffer … If the dividends from community owned utilities went away, property taxes would increase and rents would rise to reflect the change in property taxes.”

    So Now we come to the truth. The LE dividend is a City Tax by another name. If that’s legal (since it avoids all the state laws that limit other kinds of taxes),
    it’s surely not right — especially as it pertains to the 2/3 of LE customers who don’t reside or do business within the city limits. What don’t you understand about taxation without representation?

    If Lakeland wants to play shell games with its own citizens’ money, that’s one thing — but to impose your dividend (read that “tax”)on people whose only sin is living in your service area and who get nothing from your dividend is downright thievery!

    This practice needs stop — sooner, not later!

  40. Al Says:

    “It is also a common practice that municipal owned utilities pay a dividend to their respective Cities.”

    Common practice makes it neither right nor fair — just common!

    “Valuable dollars stay within the area and contribute to the community’s quality of life instead of a stock holder’s wallet.”

    How ’bout the money remaining in the “LE Stockholders’ wallets” instead. The stockholders are all of the rate-payers — not the City. There isn’t a single Lakeland Tax Dollar involved in the utility and hasn’t been in living memory. that makes us the stockholders; not the City Commission.

    “If contributions from Lakeland Electric went away tomorrow, the city would have to increase property taxes or drastically reduce city services. Either way, the quality of life enjoyed by the community would suffer … If the dividends from community owned utilities went away, property taxes would increase and rents would rise to reflect the change in property taxes.”

    So Now we come to the truth. The LE dividend is a City Tax by another name. If that’s legal (since it avoids all the state laws that limit other kinds of taxes),
    it’s surely not right — especially as it pertains to the 2/3 of LE customers who don’t reside or do business within the city limits. What don’t you understand about taxation without representation?

    If Lakeland wants to play shell games with its own citizens’ money, that’s one thing — but to impose your dividend (read that “tax”)on people whose only sin is living in your service area and who get nothing from your dividend is downright thievery!

    This practice needs stop — sooner, not later!

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