Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Power bill charges, grocery bill increases

Items add up on power bill

I was looking at my power bill and I now get charged more for things that aren't for power use than for power use. What do these things on my bill mean: Customer charge, fuel charge, gross receipts tax, municipal franchise tax and municipal utility tax?

Since you're a St. Petersburg resident, we asked Rob Sumner, Progress Energy spokesman, for some help. He directed us to a Progress Energy brochure that included these definitions:

"Customer charge is a fixed monthly amount to cover the cost of providing service to your location. This charge is applicable whether or not electricity is used.

"Fuel charge includes the actual cost of fuel used to produce electricity. The company's two largest fuel sources are coal and natural gas. Fuel costs are passed through from fuel suppliers to customers with no profit to the company. This charge is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the cost of fuel.

"Gross receipts tax is collected in accordance with Florida state statutes. This tax is assessed on all electric public utilities and paid directly to the state. Progress Energy Florida does not keep these tax monies.

"Municipal franchise tax is a fee that we collect to compensate communities for using their rights of way. All of the fee is sent back to the local community; Progress Energy Florida does not keep any franchise fees. Fees vary by community.

"Municipal utility tax: In accordance with state law, a county/municipality may levy a tax on the purchase of electricity within that area. This tax is paid directly to your county/municipality. Progress Energy Florida does not keep any of these taxes."

Sumner says these and other definitions, and other information about Progress Energy's rates, can be found at this website:

Harvests affect grocery bills

Why have the prices of eggs and peanut butter increased dramatically?

Egg prices increased 4.9 percent in August because of the higher cost of corn and other grains used in animal feed, USA Today reported. Also, the inventory of table egg-laying hens in the United States decreased for five of the first seven months of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The cost of eggs is 14.5 percent higher than it was in August 2010.

Peanut butter costs also will increase after one of the worst peanut harvest seasons in years, reported. The price for a ton of runner peanuts, which are used to make peanut butter, has jumped to $1,200, an increase of $450 from this time last year, according to the article.

U.S. peanut production is expected to be 3.6 billion pounds this year, down 13 percent from 2010, according to the USDA. Peanut butter prices are expected to increase anywhere from 20 to 40 percent next month, according to and the Associated Press.

Q&A: Power bill charges, grocery bill increases 11/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. And the most-searched NFL player in Florida is ...


    The Bucs just faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason, and open their 2017 season at the Miami Dolphins. So with the state's NFL competition ahead of and just behind the Bucs, who do you think is the NFL player most searched on Google by Floridians?

    Fans react with excitement moments after the Bucs announce their first-round pick at the team's 2016 NFL draft party. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Video captures shark attack on seal at crowded beach


    ORLEANS, Mass. — A shark attack on a seal at a Cape Cod beach sent beachgoers scrambling, and surfers a few yards away had to frantically swim to shore.

    Thayer Wade captured video of  a shark attacking a seal off a Cape Cod beach. His uncle Pat O'Brien shared the video on Twitter.
  3. Florida firefighter spears giant 409-pound grouper in St. Pete Beach competition


    ST. PETERSBURG — It took six sets of hands to drag a 409-pound Warsaw Grouper to the stage.

    James Taylor, a Bradenton firefighter, speared a 409-pound grouper near St. Pete Beach during a competition over the weekend. (Courtesy of Michelle Taylor)
  4. Don't know what to do with those eclipse glasses? Donate them.

    Human Interest

    Those who were able to snag a pair of coveted solar eclipse glasses for Monday's event witnessed a moment in history. But now that the eclipse is over, many are left wondering: What do I do with my …

    Workers pass out eclipse viewing glasses during a solar eclipse party on August 21, 2017 at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa experienced a partial eclipse. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
  5. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion


    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]