JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - JEA board of directors voted in favor of a scenario that could change the future of JEA. They approved a “non-traditional” scenario that explores non-government ownership in the face of a changing industry.
A board member said, “JEA needs to change in order to be successful.”
RIGHT NOW: We're sitting in on a JEA Board meeting where they're expected to talk about hundreds of possible layoffs. It's part of a proposed plan to meet challenges JEA is facing. FULL REPORT at noon on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/X9NMKQOUKL— Elizabeth Pace (@PaceAnJax) July 23, 2019
If JEA continues to operate in the status quo, utilities rates would spike over the next decade. Their researched shows JEA raising electricity rates by 52 percent and water rates by 16 percent by 2030.
For month, JEA has been working with consultants for two strategic plans: traditional and non-traditional scenarios.
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The traditional scenario would shrink JEA. It called for more than 570 layoffs by 2030. It would also raise utility rates by 26 percent rather than the projected 52 percent.
During the board meeting Thursday, five current JEA employees addressed the board and asked for the consideration of their future with JEA.
“I would just urge the board to keep our employees in mind as you move forward with your deliberations,” a JEA employee said.
Ultimately, the board approved the non-traditional scenario, which includes the consideration of non-government ownership, taking them out of the city government structure. The board will now be exploring community and private ownership options as they think about the future of JEA.
JEA board members wanted to stress, they are not choosing to sell JEA but want to explore non-government ownership as a chance for growth.
JEA’s managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn confirmed no layoffs or high utility rates for now. This scenario would include minimum guarantees of employment retention and locking in rates, among other items.
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