Make us your home page
Instagram

FPL to cut electric bills by 1.4 percent

Less than a week after two Tampa Bay utilities sharply increased electric bills to pay for higher fuel costs, the state's largest utility announced that it will lower electric rates starting in January.

Florida Power & Light, which serves 4.4-million customers in South and East Florida, announced Monday that it will lower electric rates by 1.4 percent because of plunging fuel costs.

"Our bills are among the lowest in the state and well below the national average today, and we're working hard to keep them that way by making smart investments," said Armando Olivera, president and chief executive of FPL.

Progress Energy bills will be going up 25 percent starting in January, to pay for higher fuel costs and to pay for the early stages of its $17-billion nuclear project. Tampa Electric's bills will jump 12 percent to pay for fuel, and the utility is asking for additional increases that, if approved, would hit electric bills in May.

Starting in January, FPL wants to charge $109.55 for 1,000 kilowatt hours. Progress will charge $138.87 and Tampa Electric $128.44. The average homeowner uses about 1,200 kilowatt hours each month.

So how can the price of fuel in South Florida fall while it rises in the Tampa Bay area?

In a word: coal. Progress Energy generates nearly 40 percent of its electricity from coal, and Tampa Electric more than half.

"Natural gas prices have fallen sharply and are lower than they were a year ago," said Progress Energy spokeswoman Suzanne Grant. "But we run 40 percent on coal. While coal prices are down, they are more than 100 percent above where they were a year ago."

FPL gets less than 10 percent of its electricity from coal plants. More than half of its power comes from natural gas, which is down 15 percent to 20 percent since last year, Olivera said.

The falling cost of natural gas was not enough for Tampa Electric and Progress Energy to offset the higher prices for other fuels.

Grant said Progress Energy, the St. Petersburg utility, will continue to monitor fuel costs. If fuel prices continue to fall, the utility could lower bills in mid 2009 or early 2010, she said. Rick Morera, a spokesman for Tampa Electric, said the Tampa utility will do the same.

Under state law, the utilities are not allowed to profit from fuel. It is a pass through to customers.

Asjylyn Loder can be reached at aloder@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3117.

Comparing the cost of electricity

The cost of 1,000 kilowatt hours for residential customers:

Now Starting in Jan.Pct. change
Progress Energy$110.59$137.87plus 24.7
Tampa Electric$114.38$128.44plus 12.3
Florida Power & Light$111.12$109.55minus 1.4

Sources: Progress Energy, Tampa Electric, Florida Power & Light.

FPL to cut electric bills by 1.4 percent 11/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 21, 2008 4:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bank of Tampa expanding into Sarasota

    Banking

    TAMPA — The Bank of Tampa is expanding to Sarasota County. It opened a loan office this month in downtown Sarasota at 1858 Ringling Blvd., which will be converted to a full-service branch within the year, the company said in a release Monday.

    The Bank of Tampa is expanding to Sarasota. Charles Murphy, pictured, will lead the Sarasota branch. | [Courtesy of The Bank of Tampa]
  2. Tampa Bay home prices still climbing, though more slowly

    Real Estate

    Tampa Bay home prices rose again in June, although the once-torrid pace of increases shows signs of slowing.

    This three story home in Port Richey's gated Harborpointe sold for $1.15 million in June, making it the top sale in Pasco County for the month.
[Penny Perry]
  3. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. Clearwater mansion that sold at record price is back on the market for $19.75 million

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Less than four months after it sold for a record $11.18 million, the waterfront Century Oaks estate is back on the market — for $19.75 million.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which sold for $11.18 million four months ago, is back on the market.
[Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group
]

  5. Tampa Bay gas prices jump nearly 10 cents over the week

    Markets

    Gas prices in Tampa Bay are on the rise again.

    Tampa Bay gas prices jumped nearly 10 cents over the past week to an average of $2.15 per gallon. | [Times file photo]