Make us your home page

Tampa Electric strikes deal to raise rates nearly $7 a month

The average monthly Tampa Electric bill is expected to rise by $5.67 beginning Nov. 1 and an additional $1.27 two months later, as a result of an agreement the utility reached with consumer advocates late Friday.

Tampa Electric's rate hike would raise the average residential customer's bill from $102.58 to $109.57, which the company says will help offset rising costs and sluggish growth.

The subsidiary of TECO Energy had previously requested a slightly higher rate of $114.26 a month. But the utility settled for the lower amount for the next 12 months during last-minute negotiations ahead of hearings before state regulators on Monday.

The agreement also calls for smaller increases in 2014 and 2015, then in 2017 another substantial increase to cover an expansion at the utility's Polk power station.

The state Public Service Commission still must approve the deal, but a settlement agreement makes it more likely that regulators will support it.

"The proposed settlement represents a fair and constructive outcome," said John Ramil, TECO Energy president and chief executive officer. "We are pleased to reach agreement with groups representing all our customers."

J.R. Kelly, the state public counsel who represents consumers before the PSC, said the settlement helped reduce TECO's initial request of $135 million for next year by half and delayed some of the impact on customers.

"We negotiated a long time on this," Kelly said. "I think it's a fair deal. I think it's better than what the consumers would have gotten if we had litigated.

"The good thing about the step increases is the rates will go up the most next year and then a little bit the next year and a little less the next year," he said. "The economy's getting better, and hopefully that will help."

The initial increase on Nov. 1 will generate $57.5 million in revenue for TECO. That will cost the average residential customer $5.67 a month.

Neither Kelly nor the utility could say Friday how much rates will go up with the additional steps, but the revenue totals are a more modest $7.5 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015.

But in 2017, when TECO customers must pay for the expansion of the Polk power station, the utility will send them a bill for $110 million, which could lead to another significant increase in rates.

"We appreciate the spirit of cooperation among the groups who worked diligently to reach a constructive resolution for all Tampa Electric customers," said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. "This settlement would eliminate the need for the lengthy hearing — which was scheduled to begin Monday — and it would provide closure and clarity to the complex regulatory process."

Tampa Electric's request comes on the heels of a $350 million rate increase approved last year for the state's largest investor-owned utility, Florida Power & Light, which serves South Florida.

FPL wants an additional $5 added to monthly bills beginning Jan. 1 to cover fuel expenses.

Even with last year's rate increase and the proposed fuel adjustment, FPL would remain lower than Tampa Electric and Duke Energy Florida at a cost of $100 per 1,000 kilowatt hours.

Duke customers currently pay $116.06 per 1,000 kilowatt hours. Duke wants to increase that to $124.30 on Jan. 1.

Ivan Penn can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2332.

Tampa Electric strikes deal to raise rates nearly $7 a month 09/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 11:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    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


    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


    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


    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]