Vero officials take tour but get no answers from power provider

VERO BEACH – Vero Beach Mayor Kevin Sawnick and City Manager Jim Gabbard traveled to Orlando Thursday to find out if selling the power plant would trigger a $50 million contract penalty with their soon-to-be power provider and to tour the facility.

They got the tour, but no answers. After returning from Orlando, Mayor Sawnick told that OUC Vice President Jan Aspuru, told the city officials that any questions regarding the contract had to be formally written. The city is set to begin purchasing power from the OUC starting Jan. 1.

However, then-Councilman Charlie Wilson during his brief tenure in office had asked the question if the city were to sell the power plant would that trigger a $50 million penalty the OUC could charge the city. The Council voted for the city to at least investigate that option with the OUC as a precursor to discussing a sale with Florida Power and Light.

The mayor plans to discuss the issue at the next city council meeting and ask if the council’s wants to make a formal submission to the OUC.


Also, in response to the question, Aspuru informed them that “OUC responded to a competitive bid process, as did FPL. In good faith, OUC entered into the contract, and they (OUC) plan to honor that commitment.”

Mayor Sawnick said Thursday afternoon that the city had originally planned to call Aspuru to pose the question, but decided to take the drive out to Orlando so he could tour the facility.

“It’s a lot, lot bigger” than the Vero Beach power plant, Mayor Sawnick said, adding it has to be because it supplies power to the entire city of Orlando.

The mayor also said that the city has been meeting regularly with OUC officials to make sure that everything is in place for the Jan. 1, 2010, switch from the Florida Municipal Power Agency.

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