On September 9, 2003, the citizens of Winter Park voted in favor to purchase the electric utility system from then, Progress Energy® Florida. This vote came in response to tremendous customer dissatisfaction reports and significant reliability issues.
On June 1, 2005, the city celebrated the official “flipping of the switch” from an investor-owned utility to municipal ownership. Since then, the city has been working towards upgrading its infrastructure and undergrounding all overhead electric wires within the city’s electric utility service areas. The service wires to homes are handled by individual homeowners and the city offers a generous incentive for residents to place these lines underground.
Winter Park is one of the only cities in America that has a plan in place to underground their entire electrical system by 2030. Because the utility is owned by the city, it is able to provide this undergrounding service while maintaining rates that are below the average for the State of Florida. Additionally, because the city has local control over its revenues, it is able to reinvest all profits and revenues back into the system to pay for these undergrounding efforts and not through an additional tax to its residents.
The city does not generate power, so it purchases approximately 100 Megawatts (MW) of power on the open market. Long-term contracts are in place with the Florida Municipal Power Association (FMPA) and also agreements with the city’s neighbor, Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC). Sustainability is an important factor in the city’s efforts. To that end, we have purchased 10 MW of power from Covanta®, which derives power from burning waste. In 2023, the city will also purchase 20 MW of solar energy through their partnership with the FMPA.