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William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer

William R. Levesque

William R. Levesque is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience who began working at the Tampa Bay Times in 1994. He covers business news with a focus on energy issues and Florida utilities.

Phone: (813) 226-3432


Twitter: @Times_Levesque

  1. Staff for Florida utility regulators say hedging works despite $6 billion loss


    A group representing Florida residential electric customers opposes it. So does one that represents retail businesses. And the organization that is the voice of industrial and commercial firms doesn't like the policy either.

    But the state's investor-owned utilities think hedging the price of natural gas is beneficial even if it has cost Floridians $6 billion since 2002.

    Staff for the Florida Public Service Commission is siding with utilities by recommending commissioners meeting Dec. 3 continue the practice allowing utilities to hedge much of the natural gas they buy to fuel power plants. This comes even as utilities estimate hedging losses in 2015 alone will be $789 million....

  2. Battle over Tampa marijuana magazine company Cannavoices lands in court


    TAMPA — With its website promoting stories or videos such as "Did William Shakespeare smoke cannabis?" and "Wholesale cannabis prices sky high in Colorado," Cannavoices was supposed to be a hip look at the legal marijuana industry.

    The Tampa company, which produces Cannavoices Lifestyle magazine, which focuses primarily on medical marijuana, launched with a party at the Station House restaurant in St. Petersburg during the summer....

  3. Florida unemployment rate hits 7-year low with spurt in job creation

    Working Life

    SAFETY HARBOR — Florida's jobs market strongly rebounded last month after a lackluster September.

    In fact, the surge in private-sector jobs marked the single best month Florida has seen in a decade, making it second only to perennial leader California in job creation during October.

    The state's unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.1 percent as the state added a robust 35,200 jobs overall, according to figures released by the state Friday. That's down from 5.2 percent in September and 5.8 percent a year ago....

  4. Allegiant will add Flint, Dayton flights from St. Pete-Clearwater airport


    Allegiant Air, the feisty budget airline that focuses on leisure travelers, is adding nonstop service to Flint, Mich., and Dayton, Ohio, from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport starting in April.

    The announcement made early today comes just weeks after Southwest Airlines said it would be ending service between those cities and Tampa International Airport, opening the door for Allegiant....

    Allegiant’s flights to Flint, Mich., and Dayton, Ohio, are expected to carry 37,000 passengers annually to Tampa Bay, the company said. Allegiant now flies to 49 cities from St. Pete-Clearwater, which is the fastest-growing airport in the Allegiant system.
  5. Allegiant gives employees bonus after recording big profits


    Allegiant Air leaders told the budget airline's 3,000 employees Tuesday that they would receive a year-end bonus equal to about 5 percent of their 2015 earnings through the end of September.

    The airline has 359 employees based at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and 928 overall in Florida.

    The Las Vegas-based airline also told workers that the company expects to end scheduled service between Las Vegas and Honolulu by Labor Day 2016. The airline said the route, while profitable, isn't cost-effective....

  6. State approves purchase of $1.3 billion in bonds to pay for Crystal River nuclear plant closure


    Florida utility regulators on Tuesday approved a plan to issue $1.3 billion in bonds to cover Duke Energy Florida's costs for the closure of the Crystal River nuclear power plant in Citrus County.

    The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the bond issuance, praising Duke for a plan the agency says will save customers $708 million over 20 years because of lower interest payments associated with the bonds....

  7. Suit says Allegiant improperly fired pilot who evacuated plane after emergency landing


    An Allegiant Air pilot fired for ordering an evacuation of a aircraft after an emergency landing at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport has filed suit against the airline saying his termination was unjustified.

    Capt. Jason Kinzer, 43, was flying Flight 864 that departed the Pinellas County airport on June 8 bound for Hagerstown, Md., when flight attendants reported acrid smoke in the cabin. The pilot declared an emergency and returned to the airport....

  8. Pinellas lawsuit alleges DraftKings, FanDuel are illegal gambling sites


    Nelson C. Steiner's lawyers say he doesn't spend time on fantasy sports websites where participants can win big cash awards based on the real-life performance of professional athletes.

    Steiner, once described as the baron of Tampa Bay's mobile home industry, has never lost a dime on two of the most-popular sites, FanDuel and DraftKings.

    Still, the St. Petersburg resident is suing both....

    Devlin D’Zmura, a tending news manager at daily fantasy sports company DraftKings, works on his laptop at the company’s offices in Boston.
  9. Bright House announces increase in Internet speed for bay area


    Bright House Networks said Tuesday it would give its customers faster Internet service at no extra cost come January.

    Bright House said customers now receiving its Lightning 35 service with download speeds of up to 35 megabits per second will be bumped up to 50 Mbps; Lightning 75 customers will receive 100 Mbps; and Lightning 150 will increase to 200 Mbps.

    These Internet packages, Bright House said, also would see increases in upload speeds, in addition to upload speeds for its Lightning 300 plan....

  10. Taylor Swift made lots of money on Tampa concert; taxpayers, Bucs made some, too


    TAMPA — By all appearances, Taylor Swift made gobs of cash on her Halloween concert at Raymond James Stadium.

    The show was a sellout at 56,987. And the Tampa Sports Authority had said Swift would receive 100 percent of ticket sales. That would amount to nearly $4 million for the singer, including a $2.75 million guarantee, authority figures suggest.

    The singer may still receive that much cash. But the details are suddenly a bit mysterious....

    Taylor Swift performs during her Oct. 31 concert at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
  11. Allegiant Air CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr. gets the Tony Jannus Award


    ST. PETERSBURG — The CEO of Allegiant Air, the spunky budget airline that has pushed St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to record passenger traffic, received the Tony Jannus Award Thursday.

    Maurice Gallagher Jr. is the 52nd recipient of the award, which is presented by the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society every year to recognize high achievement in commercial aviation....

    Maurice Gallagher, CEO of Allegiant Air, was presented as the 2015 Tony Jannus Award recipient on Thursday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, in downtown St. Petersburg.
  12. After Tampa longshoreman's death, 609-foot ship has become a phantom


    TAMPA — From nearly the day longshoreman Hercules Gilmore Jr. died in its cargo hold, the Panamanian-flagged Honesty Ocean has proven more phantom than ship.

    On Oct. 23, 2012, Gilmore stood on the deck of the 609-foot-long vessel docked at Port Tampa Bay when rigging lifting 2 tons of piping above his head suddenly gave way. Gilmore, 56, moving to avoid being crushed, fell 15 feet into the ship's hold as the cargo crashed atop him. He died at the scene....

    Tampa Fire Rescue workers remove Hercules Gilmore Jr. after the accident that caused his death on the Honesty Ocean.
  13. Google Fiber seen as boon to business as Tampa prepares for digital giant


    TAMPA — Filmmakers who came to Tampa this spring to shoot scenes for The Infiltrator, a movie about the 1980s international drug trade starring Bryan Cranston, wanted to transmit their digital raw footage to Los Angeles each day.

    But local film officials said it might as well have been the era the film depicts when producers sought ways to send that enormous data stream.

    Available Internet was just too slow....

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn, right, and Brien Bell of Google speak with University of Tampa students after last week’s announcement that Google may bring its ultra-fast Fiber service to Tampa. 
  14. Google to explore bringing its fiber optic high-speed Internet service to Tampa


    TAMPA — Google announced Wednesday it may bring its ultra-fast Internet service, Google Fiber, to Tampa, a prospect that could eventually allow customers of all providers to drink from a fire hose of data after long sipping from a faucet.

    If Google Fiber does eventually come to Tampa — the company insists it isn't a certainty — analysts said it will undoubtedly disrupt the existing Internet and TV marketplace and benefit consumers by pressuring other providers to offer faster, cheaper service....

    Google's Regional Expansion Lead, Brien Bell, shares information about Google Fiber during a press conference to announce Google Fiber's exploration to expand Google Fiber into the Tampa region on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at the John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Tampa. If Tampa is selected for the Google Fiber expansion, internet speeds 100 times faster than the average Florida internet connection would become available to Tampa residents.
  15. Tampa-based electric cooperative files legal challenge to EPA emission standards


    TAMPA — It's relatively small. Its customers live in Florida's rural hinterland. And many live below the poverty level.

    Officials at the Tampa-based Seminole Electric Cooperative say those facts are a recipe for dramatically increased electric rates for its customers should stringent new federal emissions regulations withstand legal scrutiny.

    The nonprofit cooperative, serving 1.4 million customers, filed a legal challenge Friday against the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan with a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. Florida and 24 other states also are challenging the plan, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030....