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Tuesday, February 07, 2023
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-8e96e291-7fff-c1dd-fd71-960330a5bc2e"><span id="docs-internal-guid-8e96e291-7fff-c1dd-fd71-960330a5bc2e">Edward Bielarski Jr., the general manager of GRU, speaks at a city commission meeting Thursday about a possible partnership between GRU and Florida Power &amp; Light. </span></span></p>

Edward Bielarski Jr., the general manager of GRU, speaks at a city commission meeting Thursday about a possible partnership between GRU and Florida Power & Light. 

Gainesville Regional Utilities is once again in the spotlight after it announced the pause of its plan with Florida Power & Light.  

GRU general manager Edward Bielarski Jr. announced the tabling of its Generation Transition Plan in an email to city commissioners and Utility Advisory Board members Friday night, as reported by The Gainesville Sun. 

The agreement is a proposed 30-year transition plan that includes a partnership with FPL, a power utility company that services more than 10 million Floridians. It would begin in 2022 and save GRU up to $400 million. 

Bielarski brought the item to the January city commission meeting with urgency, but the commissioners unanimously voted to move the item to the Feb. 6 meeting.

In the email, Bielarski explained that he will not hold a previously scheduled public Q & A on Jan. 28 to discuss concerns with citizens or bring the agreement to the Feb. 6 city meeting. 

He told The Alligator Sunday that the plan was paused because FPL wants to increase the agreement’s tariff, which would increase the fee annually by $1.5 million for GRU. 

Bielarski said that his goal is to ensure that the price does not increase. 

There is no agreement with FPL yet, and GRU needs to sit down and address the concerns with the proposed agreement, he said. 

But everything depends on what changes FPL decides to make, he said.

“It’s not always pretty, but it’s what managers and leaders do in these circumstances to get to the final and best product,” Bielarski said.

City Commissioner Helen Warren said the agreement would be a win-win for both GRU and FPL. She said the utility can increase its capacity while transitioning to green energy, given that FPL has increased its solar power production. 

Warren believes that the GRU staff, engineers and finance employees are simply taking their time to confirm that the deal is beneficial to the Gainesville community.

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“We want to make sure we do it right,” Warren said.

Contact Grethel Aguila at gaguila@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @GrethelAguila.  

Edward Bielarski Jr., the general manager of GRU, speaks at a city commission meeting Thursday about a possible partnership between GRU and Florida Power & Light. 

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