Florida utility consumers will pay high electric bills in April
In April, millions of utility customers in Florida will see an increase in electric bills following a plan signed off by Florida regulators. This plan is to make up for the damages caused by Hurricane Ian and higher natural gas prices last year.
The Public Service Commission of Florida nodded positively on a series of proposals to increase the amount that Florida Power & Light (FPL), Tampa Electric Co., and Duke Energy Florida will collect from consumers.
Read more about how your electric bills can be affected below:
Hurricane Ian Recovery
Generally, utility providers are allowed to recover hurricane-related costs as well as power-plant fuel and hurricane preparation costs. Hurricane Nicole and Hurricane Ian hammered Utilities in 2022, and higher-than-expected gas prices were a cherry on top.
Fortunately, natural-gas prices are expected to drop in 2023; the increase in bills reflects last year’s costs. To soften the blow, the Florida Public Service Commission will spread out fuel recovery costs over 21 months instead of 12 months.
This will decrease the monthly electric bills for Duke customers, but they’ll have to pay for a longer period. Tampa Electric Co. and FPL had already proposed recovering costs over 21 months.
Setting the benchmark for recouping
Utilities use residential customers as a benchmark to address rates; essentially, customers use 1,000-kilowatt hours a month. According to the utilities and Public Service Commission, here’s how the changes would affect residential consumers:
- PFL has two rating sets due to its merger with former Gulf Power. Currently, PFL customers who use 1,000 kWh of electricity pay $129.59. In April, they’ll pay $144.38, but the projected bill will drop down in May to $139.95 due to a decline in gas prices.
- In Northwest Florida, Former Gulf Power electricity customers who use 1,000 kWh of electricity will pay $163.29 compared to $159.79. In May, their bills will go down to $158.86, according to FPL projections.
- Tampa Electric Co. consumers who use 1,000 kWh of electricity will pay $161.13 instead of $146.72.
- Duke consumers who use 1,000 kWh of electricity will pay $171.83 compared to $165.55.
Tampa Electric Co. stated that natural-gas prices tripled during the period of 2020 and 2022, which is an essential fuel source for power plants. Hence, the increase in the electric bills. These utilities also prepared for Category 4 storms by mobilizing a larger workforce.