Property Owners Cautioned in View of Planned Pipeline Project
Hundreds of residents are facing the confiscation of their properties following the announcement of plans to build two natural gas pipelines that will stretch across two states, including Florida. The announcement, which was made on July 26 by Florida Power and Light Co. (FLP), has prompted warnings to property owners pertaining to the issue of eminent domain.
Reduce Energy Cost By Gas Deregulation
According to company plans, the pipes will start in Alabama and extend to the company’s plant in Martin County, a distance of nearly 600 miles. Under the rules of eminent domain, a government entity can force the sale of private property that is needed for public use. However, the law also requires the full compensation to the owner of the land and property that is being seized. In Florida, the condemning authorities are also required to pay for any related damages and any legal fees incurred by the property owner.
As a public utility, FLP will use eminent domain to take property for its pipeline project. The process will begin with a formal notification of the owners of the various properties, after which a report will be prepared that states their value. The owners will be offered specific amounts for their properties before the filing of an eminent domain lawsuit that will demand action by them.
Owners have been cautioned about discussing the value of their properties to representatives from FLP, who may use such information to reduce the amount the company is willing to pay them. Such “feedback” can be considered an admission by the owner, which is significant when considering that the company has no legal authority to request such information. Owners have also been advised to avoid listing the sale of their properties or either appealing real estate assessments against or securing financing for them. They may also consider having an attorney review any leases or easements on the property, both of which can affect the compensation that will awarded.
The deregulation of the Florida natural gas industry has made it possible for large users of natural gas to significantly reduce their energy costs. Besides achieving natural gas savings, switching to Mirabito Gas may lead to the elimination of certain taxes and fees. The company offers its products to apartment buildings, hotels, government agencies and a host of other customers at costs that have been reduced through the principles of choice and competition that were made possible by gas deregulation.