The FPL-Gulf Power merger is to be completed in 2022. Separately, FPL announced the completion of six new solar power centers.
Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility with 5 million customers, is adding 470,000 more customers in a merger with Pensacola-based Gulf Power.
The merger to be completed in 2022, was announced Wednesday in Next Era’s first quarter earnings call with analysts and in a news release. Separately, FPL announced the completion of six new solar power centers.
With the merger FPL will serve 43 of the state’s 67 counties.
FPL’s parent company, NextEra Energy, headquartered in Juno Beach, acquired Gulf Power in January 2019 from Southern Company, but the two companies did not merge.
“Since the Gulf Power acquisition closed in 2019, FPL and Gulf Power have been reviewing the potential benefits of merging into a single, larger Florida utility company,” the company said Wednesday. “Based on this review, the companies expect that a merger will create both operational and financial benefits for customers. As a result, the companies plan to take additional steps to merge over the coming months.”
FPL and Gulf Power recently filed a combined Ten Year Site Plan with the Florida Public Service Commission that reflected the planned merger. The company plans to file a combined rate case next year with the PSC for a rate increase that would be effective in 2022.
Gulf Power, a rate-regulated electric utility has customers in eight counties throughout northwest Florida. It reported first-quarter profits of $40 million, compared to $37 million for the same quarter a year ago.
NextEra chairman and CEO Jim Robo said Wednesday that FPL projects that it will have more than 10,000 megawatts of installed solar capacity, including nearly 1,600 megawatts within the current Gulf Power service territory.
On Tuesday, FPL also reported that it had six new solar energy centers operating with and “four more scheduled to enter service beginning in May.” The 10 solar centers, FPL said, represent 745 megawatts of new solar capacity, which is sufficient to power 150,000 homes.
The utility has set a goal of installing 30 million solar panels by 2030 with the recent completion of six new solar energy centers and four more scheduled to enter service beginning in May.
During its earnings call, NextEra reported first quarter profits of $1.17 billion on an adjusted basis, or $2.38 a share, compared to $1.060 billion, or $2.20 per share, in the first quarter of 2019.
FPL, which serves more than 5 million customer accounts in Florida, is the nation’s largest electric utility as measured by retail electricity produced and sold. It reported first-quarter profits of $642 million, or $1.31 per share, compared to $588 million, or $1.22 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.