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Southern Company announced Monday that it will sell Pensacola-based Gulf Power Company, Florida City Gas, and the entities holding Southern Power’s interests in Plant Oleander and Plant Stanton to NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light.

The $6.475 billion deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019, officials said. The transaction is subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“This transaction was just announced this morning and with any transaction of this type there will be many questions that will be answered as we as a company and our employees move through this process,” said Jeff Rogers, Communications Manager for Gulf Power. “We want our customers to know that our people will continue to be focused on serving our customers who are our friends, family and neighbors and serving our communities in Northwest Florida.”

Gulf Power, headquartered at 1 Energy Place along Pensacola’s Bayfront Parkway, employs more than 1,200 people and services more than 460,000 customers in eight counties across Northwest Florida. The company also owns around 9,500 miles of transmission and distribution lines and nearly 2,300 megawatts of power generation assets. Founded in 1925, Gulf Power was assembled from previously independent local utilities like the Pensacola Electric Company and the Chipley Light & Power Company.

“This sale provides Southern Company the opportunity to deliver great value to our organization, bolster ourfinancial profile and continue to build the future of energy as one of America’s premier energy companies,” said Thomas A. Fanning, the chairman, president, and CEO of Southern Company. “These Florida businesses are being sold at a price that provides substantial value to our stockholders, while entrusting the customers of these exceptional franchises to a high-quality utility company that has a well-established presence in the state.”

Florida Power & Light is the nation’s third-largest electric utility, serving an estimated 10 million people across Florida — nearly half the state’s population. FPL’s typical residential customer bill is approximately 20% below that of other Florida investor-owned utilities and nearly 30% below the national average, officials said.

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