My fondest memory of my nearly three-decade-long (and continuing) involvement with the Florida Power & Light Company is the time an odd appeal arrived in the mail. FPL was thinking of entering the renewable energy business; the company was looking into windmills or solar or some other source, and sought contributions from ratepayers to finance the effort.
Naturally, I wondered why a company that has never failed to turn a healthy profit for its shareholders now considered itself a charity case; surely it wasn’t planning to give away the power generated by these new methods. A few days later, they called to follow up. “What kind of dividend will I be getting for my investment?” I asked.
“Dividend?” said the surprised person at the other end. “There’s no dividend. We’re asking for a voluntary contribution.”
I declined the offer, since I felt that enough of my income was already lining FPL’s pockets. Sure enough, a couple of years later, it turned out that almost all the money collected from gullible do-gooders who responded to this environmental appeal went to some PR effort that accomplished nothing tangible.
Now that FPL is approaching a compliant Florida Public Service Commission for a base rate increase (even though it doesn’t need one), I’m thinking it’s time to get in on some of that company stock action. It’s the only way a ratepayer’s ever going to win in this game. I’m accepting contributions.