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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jan. 8, 202011:52 AM EST

JEA releases more documents, including NextEra and American Water bid replies

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American Water said it would invest “billions of dollars in the Jacksonville region” over the next 20 years. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

JEA has released bid documents from the two remaining companies that replied to the public utility’s now-ended invitation to negotiate a possible sale.

JEA posted 900 pages of documents Jan. 7 from NextEra Energy (the parent company of Florida Power & Light), American Water Works Co. Inc. and revised replies from five of the nine companies selected to negotiate with the utility.

Before Jan. 7,  NextEra and American Water had not given JEA official legal approval to release their bids before the documents, according to JEA officials. They are now posted at whatsnextjax.com.

Like the bid from the seven other respondents released Dec. 27, NextEra and American Water’s proposals included all the minimum qualifications, including $3 billion in value to the city, $400 million distributed to customers, at least three years of guaranteed base rate stability, creating alternative water capacity for Northeast Florida and a commitment to a new headquarters Downtown.

Sections of both bids included redactions and were vague about how the $3 billion in value would be produced. It’s unclear if that would include a lump cash payment as stated by now former JEA Managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn in a July interview.

Mayor Lenny Curry said in August he would use proceeds from the sale of JEA to pay off $2.2 billion in the city’s outstanding debt.

NextEra Energy

The parent company of Florida Power & Light compared a JEA purchase to its Jan. 1, 2019 acquisition of Gulf Power based in Pensacola. 

Following a redacted section, NextEra said it invested a “significant amount of capital and resources for utilities when we believe we are capable of increasing long-term customer value.”

“In addition to the initial capital outlay, we have identified almost $3 billion of reliability enhancing and cost reducing capital expenditure opportunities at Gulf Power between 2019 to 2022,” it said.

American Water

Camden, New Jersey-based American Water sought to acquire JEA’s water and wastewater assets and offered in its bid to enter into discussions with any electric company selected through the bid process.

Redactions in American Water’s revised reply included some of its explanation about how it would provide $3 billion in value to the city. 

The company did say it would also provide value beyond $3 billion in infrastructure and through property tax revenue.

The bid stated American Water would invest “billions of dollars in the Jacksonville region” over the next 20 years. 

The company cited data from Denver-based nonprofit Water Research Foundation that says for every $1 million spent in water/wastewater infrastructure investment the company could create 16 jobs. 

American Water’s bid said the thousands of new jobs would be created through construction.

The company also proposed accelerating JEA’s estimated $2.4 billion septic tank phaseout problem. JEA committed $15.5 million toward an initial phase-out program in 2019 to undeserved Jacksonville neighborhoods. 

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