After three and a half hours of protracted debate and public input, the Sarasota City Commission voted this evening to accept the proposed renewal of the city’s 30-year franchise agreement with Florida Power & Light. The contract gives FPL a monopoly on energy delivery to city residents in exchange for a 6 percent cut of citizens’ electric bills. The commission also voted to accept a side agreement that binds FPL to a handful of modest renewable energy projects.
The 3-2 votes end months of negotiations between the city, which sought greater freedom to pursue renewable energy projects, and the utility giant. Renewable activists had fought hard for the city to ditch the franchise agreement, which would free the city to purchase power from any provider it chooses, or to build and run its own municipal utility.