JEA could quash its plan for a new headquarters building in downtown and move instead to the suburbs depending on what direction the JEA board takes for the utility’s strategic plan, according to a presentation made Tuesday to the board.
WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reports the board heard that JEA could avert a potential 71 percent increase in the base electric rate by 2030 if it made “traditional” changes such as reducing its workforce by 574 jobs over that time. With those changes, the base rate for electricity would be 26 percent higher in 2030 compared to now.
Utility CEO Aaron Zahn said shrinking the workforce would bring JEA in line with the utility’s forecasts that even though JEA will keep adding more customers, the rise of energy-efficient products and the ability of customers to generate their own solar power could reduce the amount of JEA energy sales by 8 percent by the time 2030 arrives.
Zahn said in that downsizing scenario, there would not be any need for the new headquarters building, which would be constructed in downtown near the Duval County Courthouse.
Zahn said another strategy would be to develop a “non-traditional utility” approach aimed at pushing for JEA growth by entering new types of energy-related businesses. But branching out is constrained by regulations in the Jacksonville City Charter, the Florida Constitution and state law, JEA officials said.
An expanded version of this story that includes a deeper look into the strategies JEA will be considering is at Jacksonville.com.