Make us your home page
Instagram

Regrets flow over Progress Energy rate hike

Facing outrage from customers and opposition from Tampa Bay legislators, Progress Energy may consider a compromise to soften the nuclear wallop expected to hit electric bills in January.

Progress Energy won approval to raise bills 25 percent to pay for higher 2008 fuel costs and for early costs of its $17-billion nuclear project in Levy County. A 2-year-old state law allows the St. Petersburg utility to charge customers for the nuclear project years before it starts producing power.

State Sen. Mike Fasano, who voted for the nuclear cost legislation, now says that his vote was a mistake. He did not realize just how high bills would go, he said. He plans to introduce legislation next year that would repeal or modify the law.

"If I had it do over again, I would not vote for it," Fasano said.

Jeff Lyash, president and chief executive of Progress Energy, said Thursday afternoon, "We're not at all opposed to a dialogue as to whether there are alternatives that could meet all of our objectives, and lower the short-term price to the customer."

Under the 2006 law, Progress Energy customers pay for certain construction and financing costs while the project is being built. That acts almost like a down payment, reducing borrowing costs, Lyash said. If customers don't pay as they go, the interest will raise the cost significantly.

If the law is repealed, Lyash said, "We would not be able to build this project."

State Sen. Lee Constantine, the Altamonte Springs Republican who sponsored the nuclear bill, said he still believes the law is necessary. However, he did not foresee the severity of the impact on customers.

"Clearly, we never envisioned that it would be this much just two years later," Constantine said.

Constantine wants to change the law so that the Public Service Commission has the latitude to spread the costs out over time to avoid the "rate shock" of sharp increases.

The nuclear charge will add about $13 a month to the bill of the average residential customer, or about 10 percent more than today's bill.

The rest of the 25 percent increase pays for fuel. Under state law, utilities are not allowed to profit from fuel. It is a pass through to consumers.

Asjylyn Loder can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3117.

Regrets flow over Progress Energy rate hike 12/11/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]