In a major move in the state’s utility industry, the parent company of Florida Power and Light is acquiring Gulf Power Company as part of a $6.5 billion dollar deal.
NextEra Energy plans to buy Gulf Power, along with ownership interests in two Southern Company power plants – Oleander near Cocoa, and Stanton Energy Center near Orlando. NextEra wants to buy a 100 percent interest in Plant Oleander, and 65 percent of Stanton.
Florida City Gas rounds out the package. It serves about 110 thousand natural-gas customers in Miami-Dade, Brevard, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.
Already the largest electric utility in the state, Florida Power and Light serves about five million customers, both residential and business. Gulf power is the largest utility in the Panhandle, with 460 thousand customers in eight counties.
In addition to Gulf Power, subsidiaries of Atlanta-based Southern Company include Alabama Power, Georgia Power and Mississippi Power.
The transaction is subject to federal approval. If the deal is approved, NextEra would finance it through issuance of new debt. The six and a half billion total would include 1.4 billion dollars of Gulf Power debt.
Closure of the Florida City Gas purchase is slated for the third quarter of this year, while the deal involving Gulf Power and the plants is expected to be finalized during the first half of 2019.
In the announcement, NextEra Energy says that with the additions, the Juno Beach-based company – quote -- “will be even better positioned to generate long-term shareholder value through a more robust financial profile, greater scale and an expanded platform for growth.”