LAKELAND, Fla. (January 25, 2021) – Several months after beginning collective bargaining negotiations held in good faith, today the City of Lakeland notified the Utility Workers Union of America, Local 604 (UWUA) that it was declaring an impasse in negotiations for new three-year collective bargaining contracts for Lakeland Electric and City of Lakeland Water Utility employees. These contracts were to replace the UWUA contracts, which expired on September 30, 2020.
While the City and the UWUA have reached agreement on most of the provisions of new collective bargaining contracts, several operational issues remain with both Lakeland Electric and Water Utilities as they relate to their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements, with wages being the primary outstanding issue. There have been no negotiations since October 8th, 2020, even though the City has contacted the UWUA to see if further negotiations would be productive.
In addressing employee wages issues in these negotiations, the City has been cognizant of the budget cutbacks in the current and future fiscal years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the City offered no wage increase for the current year of the new contracts with across the board wage increases of 1% in each of the second and third years of the contracts.
In making this offer, the City took into account that the cost to employees of their pension contributions for the current fiscal year has been reduced. Employees will not see any increase in health insurance premiums in the 2021 calendar year.
In contrast, the UWUA has demanded wage increases totaling up to 5.5 % annually for the Lakeland Electric and Water Utility employees and even greater increases in compensation for Lakeland Electric apprentices and certain Water Utility employees. Not only is this wage demand far in excess of the current cost of living numbers, but it also is more than the historic pattern of wage increases during good economic conditions prior to the pandemic.
The City feels that the UWUA wage demands are irresponsible. The demand could require the City to increase taxes to fund similar wage increases throughout the City at the very time when its citizens can least afford a higher tax burden because of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many of them.
Because the UWUA has been unwilling to modify its wage demands, the City has initiated the statutory process to resolve stalemates in collective bargaining negotiations under the state collective bargaining law – the Florida Public Employees Relations Act.
LAKELAND ELECTRIC, C.D. McINTOSH POWER PLANT
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING
Notice is hereby given that Lakeland Electric will hold a public meeting to discuss the results of the corrective measures assessment, conducted pursuant to Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 257.96, for the C.D. McIntosh Power Plant Byproduct Storage Area (BSA), located at 3030 East Lake Parker Drive, Lakeland, Florida.
On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule regulating the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) from Electric Utilities, found in Subpart D, 40 CFR, Part 257 (CCR Rule). In accordance with the CCR Rule, Lakeland Electric installed a CCR-groundwater monitoring system around the BSA to monitor groundwater within the vicinity of the unit. Based on its analysis of the sampling results from the CCR monitoring system, Lakeland Electric performed an assessment of corrective measures. A copy of the assessment can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
Download the Assessment of Corrective Measures (PDF)
Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the meeting will be held both in person and via WebEx.
Event Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: RP Funding Center, 701 West Lime Street, Lakeland, FL 33815
Masks are required. Temperatures will be checked at the door and social distancing will be observed.
Join the meeting via WebEx through your internet browser using the following meeting access information:
WebEx login/access: https://lakelandelectric.my.webex.com/lakelandelectric.my/j.php?MTID=mc26dc53701663d9af71043ec149d4375
Or, join the WebEx meeting by phone by using the following call-in information:
Participants may submit comments in advance of the meeting via email to Sean.McGinnis@lakelandelectric.com.
LAKELAND ELECTRIC ANNOUNCES TARGET DATE TO SHUTTER COAL-POWERED GENERATOR
LAKELAND, Fla. (December 22, 2020) – Lakeland Electric announces a target date of March 31, 2021, to shutter the utility's coal-powered generator, McIntosh Unit 3. "This was a difficult decision to make, but in the end, there was a compelling business case to shutter the unit this spring," said Joel Ivy, General Manager of Lakeland Electric. McIntosh Unit 3 is jointly owned with Orlando Utilities Commission, which owns 40% of the unit.
The coal-powered generator has required increasingly expensive repairs while showing declining efficiency and unreliable performance. In addition, the large inventory of coal required to run the unit represents a multimillion-dollar risk to the utility should the unit fail unexpectedly. An extensive analysis of these and other factors led to the decision to shutter the unit in 2021. "Our timeline for shuttering this unit has been by Fall 2024 or sooner. As we progressed this year, it became apparent that the risk was too great to operate the unit for an extended period," said Joel Ivy, General Manager of Lakeland Electric.
After shuttering the unit, employees operating the unit will begin a five-month shuttering process to get the unit to a steady-state. The shuttering of McIntosh Unit 3 will result in some positions being eliminated. Affected employees are eligible for a generous severance during the five-month shuttering process. The City of Lakeland and Lakeland Electric are assisting affected employees to find other positions in the City of Lakeland, helping with resume assistance, and providing training opportunities.
Lakeland Electric will use its other natural-gas, diesel, and solar power generation capacity along with demand management, interruptible load, and power purchase agreements until replacement generation capacity has been built. As part of its NextGen plan, the utility will add five natural gas-powered internal combustion engines, a significant increase of solar power, and battery storage by 2024. The new natural gas generators will be more efficient and better able to manage capacity fluctuation typical of solar power. With this plan, the utility is on track to reduce carbon emissions by 67% since 2001.
The City of Lakeland Utility Committee approved an advisory vote on the power generation replacement plan on April 6, 2020. The utility expects to borrow $150 million through a variety of options, including bonds. An estimated 3.5% base rate increase is expected by 2023, less than the rate of inflation, although changes in the credit markets could modify the financial outlook. Lakeland Electric believes this plan is the best long-term strategy to modernize the power generation portfolio and prepare the utility for a better operational, environmental, and financial future.
About Lakeland Electric: Lakeland Electric is the third-largest public power utility in the State of Florida, serving 131,000 customers with a production capability of over 900 Megawatts. The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida, having begun operation in 1889 before being purchased by the City of Lakeland in 1904. Today Lakeland Electric's 246 square mile territory serves the City of Lakeland and its environs with affordable, dependable, and sustainable electric power.
Do you feel like you are running around trying to fit everything into your everyday schedule? Our schedules can be filled with going to the grocery store, post office, work, school events… well, you get the picture. You can have a lot going on! Now, have you ever wished you could move your bill’s due date just one day or one week, so it aligns with your paycheck? If you answered yes, we are here to help! We are now offering a convenient solution to choose a due date that works best for you!
Our Pick Your Due Date program offers our customers the flexibility to choose a due date that works best for them. Customers who are receiving fixed social security or retirement benefits, employees who are paid monthly, or anyone wanting to better manage their budget may find benefit from this program. Pick Your Due Date is free, simple, and will not affect your billing or payment method.
Request a date that fits with your cash flow – for example, three days after you receive your paycheck. Some important points about the program:
You must be a residential customer.
Your account must be in good standing and owe no balance.
How to enroll:
Use our easy online form.
Or, call our Customer Service at (863) 834-9535.
Your account must be maintained current to continue in Pick Your Due Date.
Pick Your Due Date customers are not eligible for a Payment Arrangement.
We are here to make scheduling your bill easier. Now, go Pick Your Due Date!
P.O. Box 32006
Lakeland, FL 33802-2006
501 East Lemon Street
Lakeland, FL 33801-5079
A customer service representative will respond to you in two business days. Please include your account number and or address.
For faster processing please use our Contact Form
If you have any questions regarding your electric or water service, please call Customer Service.
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Monday - Friday
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