The Lowe Down

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FPL...yes, again

When one is almost at a loss to say something new about FPL, the company obligingly goes and hands us a new issue on an electric chafing dish.

This time, it's trying to keep the salaries of its top execs a secret, claiming that releasing such proprietary info could harm its competitiveness.

How is it that a "regulated" monopoly suddenly needs to worry about being competitive? FPL has such a sweet deal that a pack of chimpanzees could run the place and still turn a tidy profit.

Maybe FPL worries that we peons--upon learning what these guys get paid--might rebel, hook our home exercycles up to little generators, and start conditioning our own !@#$% air.

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Confusing statements? My FPL bill is black and white, has the list of the charges and a total. Doesn't get much simpler.I wish they would liven it up. Its not "art" but its not confusing.

don't forget the vp of handling witch hunts from newspapers. chan, why don't you sketch a cartoon that shows how much you make? then you can talk.

Chan says.
Dear "Lowe is Low,"

I'll address you by your nom de plume, because, like so many commenters, you take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet.

You make a false comparison, because nobody forces you to read the newspaper. I assume you have electricity in your home, and until something changes, you are forced to buy it from FPL.

Let me remind you that you read my blog post and made your comment absolutely free of charge, which is one of the reasons why newspapers are having such a tough go of it these days.

Wait, I'm wrong. You did have to pay FPL a few pennies for the electricity it took to run your computer. And you still aren't interested in what FPL's executives make?

uhh, we already know how much the top executives make because that information is public with the SEC. The bottom line is that, publicly regulated or not, its still an invasion of privacy on employees of a private company. it's a false comparison to say otherwise. everyone keeps obsessing over the execs at the top, totally ignoring the fact that there are other employees who make $165k or more because of their education and specialty. everyone is so blood thirsty for the executives that they look past the fact that there are affected employees who work hard and don't deserve to have their salary broadcasted to the whole world. what's really going on here is that the sun-sentinel wants to know the salaries so they can have another story to sensationalize.

To Lowe is Low:

Before you continue attacking
Mr. Lowe, and the Sun-Sentinel, it might be worth you while to actually read the August 18 story by Julie Patel. (See the SS's

The Sun-Sentinel is not on
a witch hunt as you claim.

I don't really care how much the executives make. I care that they even have executives. I am firmly convinced that a Magic 8-Ball toy could do a better job running most companies than the typical highly paid executive. I say a we ought to find out: We should force FPL to replace Lewis Hay with a Magic 8-Ball and see how the company performs. When it does better than all competitors, stockholders all over the country will be clamoring to dump their expensive CEOs in favor of 8-Balls as well. Soon the entire outrageous executive salary problem will be solved :-).

Hi Chan,

Let me remind you that you read my blog post and made your comment absolutely free of charge, which is one of the reasons why newspapers are having such a tough go of it these days.

You know buggy whip manufacturers had a tough go of it after cars became affordable. I'm sure they found someone to blame for their problems.

Newspapers are having a tough go of it for several reasons. There is less readership because people don't want 12 hour old news. People want a wider choice in editorial opinion (funny how there never seems to be any anti-statist editorials in the Sun-Sentinel).

These wants are better met on the internet. Government made a big mistake not squelching the internet before it started. Now its too late. People are becoming aware of ideas of freedom all around the world because of the internet.

Your blog post and comments are free because the newspaper wants to attract people to the newspaper and remain relevant. Long term, people won't miss newspapers any more than they miss buggy whips.

By the way, most of those buggy whip manufacturers found better jobs in the newly developing industries of the 1910s and 1920s.

To those of you who think that FPL's rates are too high:
I used to live in FPL country. I wish I could do so again. I now live in Tallahassee, where the power utility is city-owned. They use it as a shadow taxing authority. My power rates are nearly triple what FPL's rates are. I pay the highest per-kWh rate in the state and I hate it.
If you think that your grass isn't greener with FPL and privately-owned utilities, you don't know how good you have it. If i could pay what my father-in-law still pays. I'd be saving nearly $100 a month if I could make the switch.

Why is it so difficult to understand why a company would want to keep the salaries of their best and brightest secret?

If every other utility in the U.S. knows that John Doe V.P. makes $X a year at FPL, then you can expect John to get offers for even more money at different utilities. Then FPL will need to match that offer just to keep that employee or risk losing a key employee- either scenario ultimately HURTS the consumer!

FPL is Florida's AIG.

Very well said and written Mr. Lowe.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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