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Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jacksonville Civic Council Offer JEA Sale Analysis

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JEA

As the city considers selling JEA, some local organizations are embarking on analyses of their own.

The nonprofit Jessie Ball duPont Fund is funding an analysis through the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, which has laid out a 14-page research plan.

“In Jacksonville we are known for conducting and supporting certain studies that are important to the people in general and as it’s been pointed out, a potential sale or a discussion about selling JEA is the biggest decision facing the people of Jacksonville since consolidation,” said duPont Fund President Sherry Magill in an March 19 interview.  

The six-month UF study is being led by a team of four utility and regulatory experts including the center’s director of energy studies, Ted Kury, who has experience helping other cities including Garland, Texas, decide whether to privatize their utilities.  

Read: The full proposed scope of work

This comes after Jacksonville’s City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche started a special committee on a possible sale of JEA. She and some other committee members told Magill they need help deciphering all the information they’re receiving at meetings about a potential sale.

For example Brosche said last month, “I’m not qualified to speak about the future of the utility industry and the future of the utility industry has come up a number of times in conversation about  whether we should or shouldn’t sell.”

The UF team has identified 13 topics to analyze, including the future of the utility industry, JEA management’s effectiveness and a listing of utility sales in the country and how long selling normally takes.

“This six-month study is intended to help inform the discretion of City Council, the administration and the public to ensure the Jacksonville community makes the best possible decision,” Magill wrote with the release of the UF research scope.

At the same time, the Jacksonville Civic Council, made up of business leaders said, is conducting its own analysis of a JEA sale and put together a special committee to do it.

It would answer questions like JEA’s worth, what would change if the utility were sold and how the city should proceed.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.