Our Company

Our History

Pioneers of Power: 1925-1929

"We had a heck of a time getting the poles to set in the swamp, mud and muck. But if you put a stick of dynamite on the bottom of a pole, stood it up straight and shot it off, the pole would jump in the air and then drop into the newly created hole. We called that 'shooting the poles.’” -- FPL lineman, on working in the 1920s.

The birth of FPL

FPL was born in the final days of 1925 when

  • Florida was experiencing the greatest land boom the nation had seen
  • cities were springing up overnight
  • residents were pouring into the state by the thousands and
  • a dependable supply of electricity was desperately needed.

The founding company

FPL's earliest roots can be traced back to Thomas Edison and the General Electric Co. GE created EBASCO (Electric Bond and Share Co.), owner of American Power & Light Co. that held many utilities in the western hemisphere.

FPL - a consolidation

American Power & Light purchased the properties that were consolidated to form FPL on Dec. 28, 1925. The unlikely patchwork of enterprises included small electric generating plants, ice plants, water, gas, fish, telephone, sawmill and street car companies, a steam laundry, an ice factory, a limestone quarry, a sponge fishing boat and even 35 mules and wagons.

Facts about FPL

The new company began its first year of service with

  • 76,000 electric and gas customer accounts serving 58 communities
  • 230 miles of transmission lines
  • 1,149 miles of distribution lines
  • a generating capacity of 70 megawatts and
  • an average price per kilowatt hour for residential service of 8¢.

Early challenges

In the first years of its operation, FPL

  • broke ground for the first power plant construction project -- the 50-megawatt Lauderdale plant
  • began plans to build another "superpower" station at Sanford
  • dealt with the 1926 hurricane that hit Miami with 138-m.p.h. winds and
  • dealt with the 1928 hurricane that buffeted Palm Beach, claiming some 2,000 lives.

Dark Days, Brighter Horizons: 1930-1944

"I'll never forget the day the manager told us all of the hotels had been taken over by the Army. And very soon before dawn, we heard men marching in the streets. Once I had to ask soldiers to move a pup tent out of my driveway so I could get to work."
-- Secretary in the FPL Miami Beach Office, 1940.

Depression years

The hurricanes in the 1920s, combined with the stock market crash, sent both Florida and FPL reeling through the Depression years. The challenges included:

  • Mounting unpaid bills, though the minimum monthly electric bill was $1
  • people attempting to steal electricity
  • turning FPL offices into showrooms for selling appliances
  • laying off workers and cutting the pay of those who stayed and
  • in 1933, telling FPL shareholders there would be no dividends.

Brighter years

By 1939, however, Florida's economic skies were brightening. FPL

  • served more than 141,000 customer accounts with electricity
  • served more than 18,700 customer accounts with gas and
  • doubled its original generating capacity to 155 megawatts.

War years

Then came 1941 and war. FPL met the challenge and

  • published ads calling for conservation
  • training women to do the work of over one-quarter of the employees who had been called to war
  • expanded the work week to Saturdays to meet the demands of powering large military institutions and defense industries in its territory and
  • worked with adjoining utility companies in a spirit of unity to interconnect power lines and systems for wartime emergencies.

FPL awarded citation

FPL's response to the war years did not go unnoticed. On Feb. 1, 1944, Admiral W. R. Munroe, commandant of the Seventh Naval District, presented FPL with a Citation for Meritorious Wartime Service. He was quoted: "When we asked for power, we got power; and not, thank God, alibis!"

The Building Years: 1945-1960

"The tendency to persevere, to persist in spite of hindrances, discouragement and impossibilities, it is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak."
-- Plaque that belonged to McGregor Smith, former FPL president.

Post-war boom

During the postwar period from 1945-1960, new residents poured into Florida at the rate of 3,000 per week. By 1960, Florida was the 10th most populous state in the nation, compared with its 20th ranking in 1950.

Meeting the explosive demand

Demand for power was so great that FPL quadrupled its generating power by

  • building new plants at Palatka, Riviera, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Cutler
  • expanding plant facilities at Miami, Sanford and Lauderdale
  • leasing a Navy power ship docked at Port Everglades and
  • equipping two large railroad cars and trailers with generators and moving them around the state to meet seasonal peak power demands.

Financing the growth

To finance Florida's growing demand for power, FPL joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1950. The following year, the company announced a $435 million, 10-year expansion program that would take it into the 1960s.

Decreasing rates

In 1957, FPL filed for a $4.4 million rate decrease, the first of 11 rate decreases over the next 15 years.

Changing times

In 1960, FPL built a new unit at Port Everglades with plans for three more units – just in time. New residents were coming from all directions, lured by the Space Age from the north and by simple freedom from the south as Cuban exiles hit Miami's shores.

Space Age to Nuclear Age: 1961-1972

"U.S. Fires Astronaut Out of This World"
-- Miami News, May 5, 1961.

Space age challenges

FPL did its part to meet the Space Age challenges of putting a man on the moon. Starting in 1964, FPL built the Cape Canaveral plant to provide

  • 425 megawatts of power, twice the amount in the entire FPL system only 20 years earlier, and
  • a plentiful supply of power to the missile complex and the expanding surrounding residential and industrial areas.

A stormy decade

Weather turned out to be another of FPL's challenges in the 1960s. These stormy years brought the following hurricanes that hit FPL's service areas: Cleo, Dora, Betsy, Alma and Inez.

Nuclear age plants

In 1965, FPL announced plans to build a $100 million nuclear power plant at Turkey Point. In 1972, FPL brought Turkey Point Unit 3 on line, followed by Unit 4 in 1973.

Partnering with the community

In the process of building the Turkey Point plant, FPL found opportunities to partner with community organizations to use Turkey Point land for:

  • Dade County's largest and most pristine wildlife sanctuary for birds, fish and other wildlife
  • Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps, along with a home for a full-time Florida Board of Conservation ranger, and
  • a sea survival school near the site created by the Air Force.

Crisis and Challenge: 1973-1999

"This country cannot be dependent upon foreign oil, or the day will come when the lights will go out."
-- FPL official, 1970s.

Managing crisis

The 1970s challenged FPL in new ways. Management had to deal with

  • the OPEC oil embargo, causing petroleum prices to rise from $4 a barrel in 1972 to more than $30 by 1981,
  • FPL's dependency on oil for more than 50 percent of its generation
  • a recession that gripped the nation with double-digit inflation and interest rates
  • requesting FPL's first general rate increase in history in 1972, with other rate increases and denials of rate increases following,
  • stalled construction projects and financial difficulties, and
  • the national controversy over nuclear power after Three Mile Island.

Major changes

FPL emerged from this time of crisis to make several important changes:

  • Instead of promoting the use of electricity, FPL would focus on promoting the conservation of energy and become an industry leader in environmental performance.
  • FPL Group Inc., a new holding company, was formed in 1984. This enabled the company to expand through the creation of new companies and the acquisition of existing ones.
  • By converting some oil-fired units to natural gas, adding new nuclear units and contracting with neighboring utilities to purchase coal-fired power, oil dropped to 26 percent of FPL's generation by 1988.

New nuclear plant

In 1976, St. Lucie unit 1 went on line followed in 1983 by unit 2. Considering the times and circumstances, unit 2's completion in an industry-record six years was an amazing feat.

Award-winning performance

Through it all, FPL tackled the challenges and flourished, earning

  • the Edison Electric Institute's prestigious Edison Award in 1986
  • numerous accolades for its environmental programs
  • acclaim for its innovative Quality Improvement Program and
  • the Deming Prize in 1989 ? the first non-Japanese company ever to capture the coveted quality award.

More challenges

FPL continued to face challenges in the 1990s:

  • Sweeping federal initiatives to deregulate the utility industry created more energy choices for customers than ever before. Utilities that would prosper in this highly competitive environment would be those that delivered quality and reliable services at the lowest prices.
  • FPL worked to reduce costs and streamline its operations. Operations and maintenance expenses are reduced by 36 percent from 1990 through 1999.
  • Hurricane Andrew, the nation's most costly natural disaster, strikes South Florida in 1992 causing extensive damage to FPL's system. Thousands of FPL employees, many victims of the storm, work tirelessly to restore electricity to 1.4 million homes and businesses in just over a month.

A new "generation" of power plants

State-of-the-art combined cycle units, an industry showcase for efficiency, entered service at the Martin plant in 1994 more than $100 million below budget.

The Fort Lauderdale plant, site of FPL's first power plant construction project in 1925, is repowered in the 1990s to nearly triple the plant's generating capacity.

Growth beyond FPL's service area

FPL Energy (renamed NextEra Energy Resources in 2008) was formed in 1998 to manage NextEra Energy's growing interests in electricity markets outside FPL's Florida service area. The subsidiary focuses on clean energy technologies and fuels such as

  • wind
  • solar
  • nuclear
  • hydro, and
  • natural gas

New Growth: 2000-2009

"I believe it's wholly irresponsible and unacceptable for corporate leaders such as those at Enron to say they did not know -- or suggest it was not their duty to know -- about the operations and activities of their company. This is especially so when it comes to risks that threaten the fundamental viability of their company."

Quote: Lew Hay, FPL Group Chairman and CEO, 2002.

Industry and economic challenges

In the first few years of the new century, a range of challenges bore down on the electric industry, including FPL Group:

  • The California energy debacle, followed by warnings of a national power shortage, then fear of a glut of generating capacity in most regional markets.
  • The collapse of Enron and other companies, raising serious concerns about business ethics and financial integrity.
  • Economic recession and toughening of credit and credit rating standards.
  • Changing federal rules about how transmission assets should be structured and managed.
  • Changing rules governing pricing in "unregulated" markets.
  • The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Continued volatility in market prices for oil and natural gas, key fuels used in generating electricity.
  • New federal energy legislation, with important provisions related to wind energy, nuclear power, energy conservation and industry structure.

New ways to manage

FPL Group responded with initiatives that included:
  • improving commercial skills and pioneering new ways to do business
  • streamlining operations and lowering costs
  • improving customer focus, service and responsiveness,
  • growing its wind power and nuclear power businesses and achieving greater fuel diversity in key regional markets,
  • maintaining a corporate governance structure and financial reporting process that reflect the best practices in the industry.

In recognition of our achievements in clean energy production, environmental excellence, customer satisfaction and shareholder value, FPL Group was named the 2003 winner of the Edison Award, the electric industry's highest honor.

 


Edison Award presented to FPL Group in June 2003

New plants

FPL added its 4 millionth customer in 2002 and continued to be one of the nation's fastest-growing electric utilities, adding new state-of-the-art efficient power plants to meet our customers' growing demand for electricity:

  • More than 1,000 megawatts of generation were added to FPL's system in 2002 with the completion of the Fort Myers repowering project and the first half of the Sanford repowering project. Both facilities are powered with clean-burning natural gas.
  • An additional 1,900 megawatts entered service at the Manatee and Martin plants in 2005.
  • A new natural gas-fired power generating unit was added at the site of our Turkey Point power plants south of Miami. The new unit began serving some 230,000 Florida homes and businesses beginning in 2007.

 


Rendering of Manatee Power Plant expansion in Parrish, Fla.

New programs

FPL also sharpened its focus on improving customer satisfaction and continuing its commitment to quality and reliability with progressive measures such as:

  • Providing expanded services on its Web site, www.fpl.com. Customers were given the ability to receive and pay their electric bill, connect or disconnect service, access useful energy information such as an online home energy audit, and more.
  • Offering a variety of conservation and load management programs to help customers hold down their energy costs. These programs have avoided the need to build numerous additional power plants.
  • Initiating Tech 21, a program to implement high-tech information and management systems to improve service to customers. One of these systems, for example, provided an automated phone line for customers to call to find out why an outage occurred and when their power will be restored.
  • Supporting development of new electric technologies.

Reasonable rates

In 2002, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a $1 billion rate reduction for FPL customers through 2005. The agreement built upon a similar three-year, $1 billion rate decrease in 1999 - the largest in Florida history at the time.

In August 2005, the PSC approved a new rate agreement ensuring that base electric rates for FPL customers would not increase through 2006.

As FPL prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, the company continued to deliver quality products and services at reasonable prices.

Disciplined growth beyond Florida

During this period, FPL Energy grew to become  one of the largest developers and operators of wind energy in the world, and an industry leader in the production of nuclear energy.

In 2002, FPL Energy  acquired a controlling interest in one of the nation's newest nuclear power plants, Seabrook Station in New Hampshire. In 2005, it completed a purchase of a majority interest in the Duane Arnold Energy Center, a nuclear plant in Iowa, and in 2007 the Point Beach nuclear plant in Wisconsin was acquired. Seabrook, Duane Arnold and Point Beach plants have excellent safety records and are focused on reliable operation. These three facilities have excellent safety records and are focused on reliable operation.    

FPL FiberNet, a subsidiary formed in 2000, delivers wholesale and enterprise telecommunications services throughout most major metropolitan areas in Florida and Texas with additional connectivity to Georgia, New York, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. FPL FiberNet is the broadband provider of choice for large financial and healthcare institutions, professional service companies, as well as the education and government sector. In addition, FPL FiberNet provides network access for the largest wireless carriers in the nation.

Hurricanes of 2004-05

Powerful hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 devastated large parts of FPL’s 27,000 square mile service area, wreaking widespread damage and disrupting electric service to more than five million homes and businesses. Over a period of many years, the company had refined an action plan to quickly rebuild and restore stricken areas in the aftermath of storms. This plan was implemented during the storms of 2004 and 2005 and continues to be refined.

Plant modernizations

Beginning in 2008, FPL has been investing in modernizing three 1960s-era, oil- and gas-fired power plants into high-efficiency, natural gas-fired energy centers that will be approximately 33 percent more efficient and 90 percent cleaner than the facilities they replace. The Cape Canaveral Next Generation Clean Energy Center began serving customers in 2013, and a similar facility in Riviera Beach, Fla., came online in 2014. The third modernized power plant, in Broward County, is expected to be completed in 2016.     

The Next Era Begins: 2010–present

A new name

In 2010, FPL Group was renamed NextEra Energy, properly rebranding the company as a forward-looking enterprise that sees the future and gets there first.  With leadership positions in renewable energies such as wind and solar that represent the way electric power will be increasingly provided to future generations, the name NextEra Energy is fitting indeed.     

Continued value for FPL customers 

In Florida, FPL provides outstanding value to its 4.7 million customers. FPL’s electric service is affordable, reliable and clean. 

  • FPL’s typical residential customer bill is the lowest in Florida and about 25 percent below the national average.
  • In 2013, FPL achieved its best–ever overall reliability performance for the second straight year.
  • FPL generates about 70 percent of its electricity using clean-burning American-made natural gas.    

An innovative smart grid

FPL’s smart grid investments include the installation of more than 10,000 intelligent devices on the electric grid, enhancements to centers that monitor the performance of the grid, and the installation of about 4.5 million smart meters for residential and business customers. These advanced technologies are already enabling important customer benefits, while laying the foundation for additional benefits in the future.

Continued investment in wind 

NextEra Energy Resources (the former FPL Energy) has continued to grow its position as the largest owner and operator of wind generation facilities in North America.

In 2012, this business added roughly 1,500 MW of wind generation in the United States, more than any company had ever done before.

By the end of 2013, it was generating more electric power from the wind than from any other fuel source, on the strength of nearly 9,300 individual wind turbines on 1100 wind farms and 19 states and four Canadian provinces.

Solar comes of age 

NextEra Energy is one of the largest generators of emissions-free solar power in the United States. It produces solar energy in Florida (the Sunshine State), California, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico, as well as Canada.

In Florida, FPL has built three commercial-scale renewable energy facilities that capture the sun to generate electricity:

  • The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which was the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the United States when it began commercial operation;
  • The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which is the world’s first hybrid solar energy center to combine solar power and combined-cycle natural gas-fired generation; and  
  • The Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center, an innovative public-private partnership with NASA near Cape Canaveral.

Expanding our nuclear capacity 

In 2013 NextEra Energy completed the largest multi-site nuclear uprate project in U.S. history. The multi-billion expansion program at its St. Lucie site, north of West Palm Beach, Fla., its Turkey Point facility, south of Miami, Fla., and its Point Beach site near Green Bay, Wisc., involved six separate nuclear units and yielded an increase of approximately 700 MWe in net generating capacity. That is, enough new megawatts to produce the same amount of electricity as would a medium-sized power plant, without having to build one or even expand the footprint of these existing plants. Over the operating lifetime of this added capacity, customers are expected to save billions of dollars in fossil fuel costs.

In addition, FPL is also pursuing the licenses for two new nuclear units at the existing Turkey Point site. FPL projects these units would save customers approximately $64 billion in fossil fuel costs over an initial 40-year lifespan.

Investing in North American electricity transmission   

As new power generation facilities become operational, it’s important to deliver that electricity to where it’s needed. NextEra Energy Transmission is pursuing opportunities to develop, build and operate new transmission facilities.

  • Lone Star Transmission, LLC, owns and operates approximately 300 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and associated equipment in Texas.
  • New Hampshire Transmission, LLC, is a majority owner of the Seabrook substation in New Hampshire and is involved in regional reliability planning.
  • NextBridge Infrastructure is the designated developer of the Ontario East-West Tie line in Canada.