Duke, Tampa Electric Customers Face Higher Bills
Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. are seeking state approval to pass along hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs to customers because of hurricanes and higher-than expected natural gas prices.
Duke and Tampa Electric made filings Monday at the state Public Service Commission that, if approved, would lead to customers starting to pay more in April. Florida Power & Light made similar filings earlier Monday.
The Duke proposals would lead to a roughly 20 percent increase in residential customer bills, while the Tampa Electric hike would be about 10 percent.
Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, issued a statement that said the utility is “here to help.”
“We understand customers continue to face increased financial pressures due to inflation and other economic stress,” Seixas said. “We are connecting customers to available assistance and providing energy-saving tools and programs to help manage their bills and lessen the impact.”
Utilities grappled throughout 2022 with high prices for natural gas, which is the main fuel source for Florida power plants. But costs also piled up as utilities deployed thousands of workers to restore electricity after Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole.
The proposed increases would come on top of Duke and Tampa Electric hikes that took effect this month. In addressing rates, utilities point to a benchmark of residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month.
Under the Duke proposals, residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours would see their bills increase from $165.55 to $199.04. Such Tampa Electric customers would see their bills increase from $146.72 to $161.38, according to a filing.
Tampa Electric is proposing to recoup fuel costs over 21 months, which would lessen the hit to customer bills — though they would have to pay for a longer period than if the costs were recovered over a shorter amount of time, such as a year.
Article reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida.