The Tampa Bay Times and the Plant City Observer have formed a partnership that will begin publishing a weekly newspaper in August called the Plant City Times & Observer.
The Times & Observer, which will start with a print run of 15,000 copies, will offer local news and advertising to readers in east Hillsborough County. The newspaper will be available in racks and by home delivery....
Duke Energy told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Monday that it plans to ask state regulators to lower the amount St. Petersburg pays for street lights after the city switches to high-efficiency bulbs.
Duke said it has been working with the city on developing a plan for the city's street light pay schedule, or tariff as it is often called, to cover a switch to LED bulbs.
It is still unclear exactly how much of a discount the city will get....
Gov. Rick Scott has signed the bill that toughens guidelines for utilities that want to collect money from customers in advance for construction of new nuclear plants.
Critics of the nuclear advance fee hailed the governor's move as a critical step toward guarding consumers' money. The advance fee has allowed utilities to collect hundreds of millions of dollars for nuclear plants that may never be built....
By changing its 30,000 street light bulbs to more efficient LEDs, St. Petersburg could save as much as $1.8 million a year — if Duke Energy would allow it.
To be clear, Duke doesn't mind using the energy saving bulbs, but the city says the utility doesn't want to give a financial break for the reduction in electricity.
"The problem is they just don't want to do it," said City Council chairman Karl Nurse. "Some of it is the standard resistance to change. The motivation beyond that I'm not entirely sure."...
Five years after it was announced, checks finally began going out to consumers this month in the $300 million DeBeers diamond settlement.
The amount of the check depends on how much the diamond cost. The smallest payment is $10.
Several class action lawsuits against DeBeers and its affiliates claimed that the largest supplier of the world's diamonds violated antitrust, unfair competition, and consumer-protection laws by monopolizing diamond supplies, conspiring to fix, raise, and control diamond prices, and disseminating false and misleading advertising....
Rep. Dwight Dudley slammed state regulators on Thursday for refusing his request that they study the cost of the proposed Levy County nuclear plant.
In a written statement, Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, attacked members of the state Public Service Commission for supporting the wishes of utility companies over the best interest of consumers.
Dudley asked the PSC to review the cost of the $24.7 billion Levy project — the most expensive nuclear plant in U.S. history — after an analysis last month by the Tampa Bay Times showed a natural gas plant would cost billions less than the proposed nuclear reactors....
Duke Energy's attempt to slash its Citrus County tax bill might have backfired: A new appraisal says the utility owes more than three times what it paid last year.
An appraisal team hired by Citrus County concluded that Duke did not accurately disclose the value of all its taxable property, according to a report released Thursday. The utility undervalued its land and failed to include some transmission lines, easements, substations and transformers in the value of its assets, the report said....
TAMPA — A small crowd of Tampa Electric customers voiced opposition Wednesday night to a $135 million rate hike the utility proposes to add to bills, criticizing the increase as a reward for at-times-poor service and a threat to school budgets.
The crowd of several dozen at Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry campus raised concerns to members of the state Public Service Commission, who came to hear Tampa Electric's customers views of the rate hike, which would take effect Jan. 1....
Tampa Electric wants its average residential customer to pay an extra $10.41 a month.
Tonight, the utility's customers get their chance to weigh in on the proposed rate hike during an evening hearing with the five-member Public Service Commission at Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry campus.
The state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers before the Public Service Commission, opposes the increase. And AARP plans to speak against the rate hike during the hearing....
TECO Energy announced plans Tuesday to purchase a New Mexico natural gas company in a deal valued at $950 million, the largest acquisition in the utility's history.
The purchase of New Mexico Gas Co., would expand TECO's residential customer base outside of Florida for the first time. The number of TECO customers would increase 50 percent from about 1 million to 1.5 million.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014 and is subject to state and federal regulatory approvals. ...
A St. Petersburg lawmaker wants the Florida Public Service Commission to study the cost of the proposed Levy County nuclear plant compared to a natural gas facility.
Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, said in a news release and letter to the commission this week that a Tampa Bay Times analysis that showed the Levy plant would cost more than a natural gas facility over 60 years warrants a comprehensive review by the state....
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam declined a request for his office to study the cost of the proposed Levy County nuclear plant compared with an equivalent natural gas facility.
In a letter to Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, Putnam said he does not believe his office has the resources to perform the analysis. Putnam — the state's point person on energy matters — said he believes such a review would be more appropriate coming from the state Public Service Commission....
A Tampa Bay area lawmaker on Monday urged Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to conduct a study of the proposed Levy County nuclear plant to ensure consumers were getting a good deal.
In a two-page letter, Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said a Tampa Bay Times report Sunday that compared the cost of the nuclear plant to a natural gas facility highlighted the need for the review....
In the long run, nuclear power is cheap.
This, for many of Florida's top decisionmakers, is the Truth. Lawmakers have cast aside their worship of the free market — which long ago lost trust in building nuclear plants — and skewed state law to favor construction of new reactors.
Lisa Edgar is a believer. As a member of the Public Service Commission, she is one of five votes that green-light new nuclear plants, including Duke Energy’s Levy County project. The law that favors nuclear plants, Edgar said last month, could save Florida consumers "millions and millions, and maybe even billions" of dollars....
Exactly how would the proposed Tampa Electric rate increase affect bills?
Don't depend on the utility's recent customer notice about the rate hike to help figure it out.
Tampa Electric, a subsidiary of TECO Energy, sought to inform its customers over the last few weeks about its request for a 10 percent rate increase. It turns out that some of the rates listed in the notice did not match customer bills, and the confusion began....