Progress Energy tells regulators: We'll wait for rate increase
Progress Energy told state utility regulators Monday that it is willing to wait until the Public Service Commission decides on the company's rate increase rather than take the temporary boost in rates they are allowed to get under state law.
Progress Energy is entitled to have its proposed $500 million increase in base rates take effect on Jan. 1 and then, if the PSC approves a lower rate, refund the difference to customers with interest. Progress is seeking to raise rates 31 percent, or $9.66 per 1,000 kilowatt hour of electricity used, and the PSC is scheduled to vote on it on Jan. 28.
If the PSC agrees to delay the rate change, electric bills will remain "relatively flat temporarily giving our customers some short-term price relief during this down economy,'' said Vincent Dolan, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida.
The PSC last week voted to delay its decision on both Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light's rate increase requests until January when two new commissioners appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist will be in office. Regulators can approve, reject or modify the rate increase sought by both companies. The new base rates are expected to take effect on customer bills for the March billing cycle.
“We want to balance our real need for a base rate increase with the commission’s desire to take more time and to allow the new commissioners to vote on this case,'' Dolan said.
FPL rates will remain flat during the interim because they are governed by a 2005 settlement agreement with the PSC.