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Florida justices punt FPL rate case to lower court

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Supreme Court has transferred a case challenging Florida Power & Light Co.'s proposed rate settlement to a lower court.

However, the justices instructed the Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday to expedite consideration because the case is time-sensitive. FPL is a unit of NextEra Energy Inc.

Public Counsel J.R. Kelly is seeking a court order to block the Public Service Commission from considering the settlement between FPL and groups representing industrial, health care and federal government customers.

Kelly, who represents all consumers, says it's a bad deal for residential and other customers.

The commission is scheduled Monday to begin a hearing on the proposal with a decision set for Dec. 13.

The settlement is lower in the first year than the base rate increase FPL originally sought but calls for higher rates later.