Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

TECO wants $11 a month increase on average home bill

TAMPA — Citing sluggish growth and rising costs, Tampa Electric wants to raise the average residential customer's bill by $11 a month.

The requested rate hike would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, if it is approved by the state Public Service Commission.

"There is never a good time to raise rates, and we empathize with our customers who are also feeling the effects of a difficult economy," said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. "The pace of the economic recovery has not been what anyone predicted. We have worked diligently to keep costs low, but costs continue to outpace growth."

If approved, the $11 jump would increase the average bill to about $113 for 1,000 kilowatt hour hours, the amount the average customer uses each month.

The rate had fallen from $106.90 per month in 2012 to $102.58 this year. Tampa Electric, a subsidiary of TECO Energy, last sought a rate increase in 2008.

"It is important to remember that while the cost of nearly everything has gone up in recent years, the relative cost of electricity has gone down," Gillette said. "We are proud to offer our customers a great value."

J.R. Kelly, the state public counsel who represents consumers before the PSC, said his office will oppose the rate request.

"That's a hefty increase," Kelly said. "That's not fair and reasonable."

Even with the $11 increase, Tampa Electric's rates would remain below the rates for Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy. Progress' rates stand at $116.06 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage.

Progress cannot request an increase in base rates for 2014 because of a rate settlement agreement that lasts through 2016. But other adjustments high or lower can be made as a result of changes in fuel prices and other expenses.

Tampa Electric must now submit its formal petition, which will come after April 5. State regulators then review the petition and hold public hearings before making a final decision.

"We certainly will be arguing that they should not get that high of an increase," Kelly said. "It should be a lot less."

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

Comments
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Updated: 12 hours ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Federal regulators are poised to impose a $1 billion penalty on Wells Fargo for a number of alleged misdeeds, including forcing customers to buy auto insurance policies that they didn’t need, according to people briefed on the regulatory action. The ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Published: 04/19/18
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Published: 04/19/18
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Published: 04/19/18