Florida Times-Union by David Bauerlein
August 26, 2020
NextEra Energy offered $11.05 billion to buy JEA during last year’s sales negotiations, a bid that was far and away the largest offer on the table for the “crown jewel” of city government when the JEA board ended sales talks last December.
The net proceeds to Jacksonville City Hall from NextEra’s offer would have been $6.452 billion, the biggest one-time infusion of cash in city history, dwarfing the $2.2 billion Better Jacksonville Plan that paid for a host of projects across the city after voters approved a half-cent sales tax in 2000.
The amount of NextEra’s offer also would have meant a huge payday for JEA employees if JEA had continued a controversial incentive plan that potentially could have steered an estimated $1.1 billion of the sales proceeds to utility employees, according to the City Council Auditor’s Office.
The city Office of General Counsel on Wednesday disclosed the dollar amount of NextEra’s offer for JEA after a judge entered a final judgment declaring the amount is public record. The judgement also lifted a redaction of the net sales proceed amount that NextEra said the city would receive after other mandatory sales-related matters were taken care of, mainly involving paying off JEA’s existing debt.
NextEra Energy is the parent company of Florida Power & Light, whose service territory surrounds JEA and ranks as the largest utility in the state. NextEra offered to buy JEA’s electric, water and wastewater operations that cover most of Duval County and parts of St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties.