JEA Tower, Jacksonville, FL
JEA Tower, Jacksonville, FL. (Photo: Source: Twitter / @NewsfromJEA)

The Charlotte Business Journal reported Friday that Duke Energy, NextEra Energy and Emera Energy Services, a Canadian power company that owns TECO’s Tampa Electric Co., were among 16 bidders who are seeking to acquire JEA, a municipal utility in Jacksonville, Florida.

JEA estimates its current customer base at 478,000 for electric power, 357,000 for water service and 279,000 for sewer service.

The minimum bid price has been cited by various sources, ranging from a minimum bid that includes at least a $3 billion cash payment to the city and $400 million in customer rebates. However, other sources indicate that “for entities that want to purchase JEA lock, stock and barrel, the threshold price to even get consideration would be in the range of $6.8 billion to $7.3 billion, according to information provided to interested buyers.”

Duke is the largest bidder involved. It has 7.7 million utility customers nationwide with power operations in six states. Duke has 1.8 million customers in central and northern Florida, which is its second-largest service area after North Carolina.

Duke also submitted an offer in January 2019 to purchase of Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility in South Carolina, and was short-listed as a bidder in the proposed sale of the operations and management portions of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

JEA anticipates City Council would start vetting a deal in March 2020. The timeline does not have an expected public referendum date, but potential dates would be the August 2020 primary election or the November 2020 election.

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