Florida Power & Light aid as disconnections loom

Florida Power & Light said Friday it will offer aid to customers who are behind on their electric bills, as the company prepares to begin disconnections that have been put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

FPL said, in part, it will provide bill credits of up to $200 to some residential and small-business customers. To qualify, customers would have to pay outstanding balance amounts minus the bill credits.

For example, a customer who owed $600 would have to pay $400, with a $200 bill credit making up the remainder, according to FPL. The utility plans to write off the credit amounts as bad debt.

Separately, FPL plans to speed up refunds of customer deposits. The moves come as FPL plans to resume the disconnections of some customers in October.

It will begin issuing final notices to customers this month and said it is extending a period for customers to arrange payments of past-due amounts. Christopher Chapel, the utility’s vice president of customer service, said disconnection is a “last resort” and that the utility will work with customers to avoid it.

“The vast majority of customers behind on their bill have not contacted us for help, despite our widespread outreach efforts,” Chapel said. “Our message to customers in need is simple: ‘Call us. We’re here to help.’”