After decades of red tape, appeals, and lawsuits, Vero Beach residents are one step closer to getting rid of Vero Electric and welcoming Florida Power and Light. “It was a combination of the petitioning, the sign waving, and I think the ad just set them over the edge,” commented Councilman Val Zudans, referring to why FIPUG dropped their protest to the PSC. Yesterday, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group dropped their protest of the sale of Vero Electric to FPL. Lynne Larkin, who claimed that the Civic Association of Indian River County, Inc had 900 members, also dropped her protest stating that the CAIRC “finds it impossible to get witnesses scheduled.”
Dr. Val Zudans, City of Vero Beach, Council Member
There are still protests from two of the local curmudgeons; however, it is believed that they have no legal standing.
Zaqary Sanders and the Indian River Taxpayer’s Association were instrumental in the fight against FIPUG and the local protesters. With the help of the John Kistler, President of the Taxpayer’s Association, Sanders drafted a petition calling for FIPUG to drop its protest of the sale. That petition was shared online through Change.org where over 1,500 signatures were colelcted. Many restaurants in Vero Beach collected petition signatures in hopes that their businesses would benefit from lower electric costs in the long run. Sanders and the Taxpayer’s Association also organized to petition outside of FPL’s two open houses. A previous Indian River Politics article detailed the efforts to counter-protest this objection (read more here).
Last month, Sanders was joined by Councilman Zudans, Mayor Howle, and other concerned residents outside of the Publix on Miracle Mile, calling for a boycott of FIPUG members, PepsiCo and Tropicana - both of which are enjoying FPL rates.
Councilman Zudans bought an ad in a local paper providing contact information for PSC commissioners and social media handles for FIPUG memebrs, again asking for Vero Beach residents to make their voices heard.
Sanders, only 20 years old, was the campaign manager for Councilman Val Zudans’s bid for Vero Beach City Council. When asked why he is still involved, Sanders stated that his job wasn’t done until Vero Electric was sold. “I am ecstatic,” said Sanders. “We are one step closer to this being done and over with. My hope is that the other two holdouts will drop their protests soon, seeing as they have no leg to stand on so that FPL and the City of Vero Beach can close by October 1st.”
UPDATE: It was previously reported that CAIRC had dropped its appeal, but they only dropped the request for an expedited hearing. Their challenge remains.
Review the documents: