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JEA is drawing up a list of people to be fired as it continues downsizing.

Possibilities to be discussed at a board meeting today are a 26 percent rate increase and firing 500 employees.

Three things are contributing to the shrinkage of the city-owned electric and water utility company.

One is the legal mess it got itself into with an agreement to buy nuclear power from a still-unbuilt Georgia plant.

Another is the fact that its customers are buying less of its electricity.

This is related to the third fact: The United States government.

Because of an ideological fascination with carbon emissions, utilities are being driven to reduce them.

Beginning next year, electric plants must average a 33 percent reduction in carbon emissions over 10 years.

In 2015, 38 percent of JEA’s power supply mix came from natural gas. Solid fuels like coal and petcoke contributed 54 percent of the power supply mix that year. The remaining 8 percent came from other power supply sources like the 15 MW solar photovoltaic facility on the Westside near Baldwin.

While exploring landfill gas and solar panels as alternative technology generating facilities, the company also is continuing to be nimble by having the ability to switch fuel sources as prices change. It learned this lesson in 1973 when the world oil cartel suddenly tripled the price of oil. At the time, the JEA was locked into long-term contracts for oil and oil was the sole source for power generation.

Today, JEA has a cash reserve on hand to cover sudden, unexpected spikes in fuel costs.

The bottom line is that JEA’s growth is slowing, if not reversing, because of the actions of its own leaders and of the federal government.

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