TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — After receiving a request from the state Office of Public Counsel, regulators will hold a full hearing in October on a major solar-energy proposal by Florida Power & Light.

The state Public Service Commission posted an order Friday that said an administrative hearing will be held Oct. 15 and Oct. 16 on FPL’s proposed “SolarTogether” program.

FPL filed a petition March 13 seeking approval of the program, which at least initially seeks to build 20 solar plants that would generate 1,490 megawatts of electricity, with a projected cost of $1.79 billion.

The petition said FPL projects long-term savings of $139 million because the increased use of solar would allow it to avoid costs related to natural-gas or other types of power plants.

Customers would be able to voluntarily participate in SolarTogether, paying a charge each month and receiving credits for savings produced by the program. Public Service Commission staff members were expected to issue a recommendation July 25 about whether the commission should approve the proposal.

But the Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers on utility issues, filed a request last month for the commission to hold a full administrative hearing before deciding whether to give approval.

The request, in part, cited the size of the proposed program and complex engineering and financial issues. FPL last week objected to the need for such a hearing.

But Public Service Commission member Gary Clark, who is serving as a prehearing officer on the proposal, issued an order Friday that included the dates for the administrative hearing and detailed procedural deadlines.

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