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Florida regulators approve higher rates for Tampa Electric Co.

Rising cost of natural gas, the utility said, is the main driver in the 8 percent increase.
Tampa Electric Co. was approved for higher rates for 2021 and for the next phase of its solar power expansion.
Tampa Electric Co. was approved for higher rates for 2021 and for the next phase of its solar power expansion.
Published Nov. 6, 2020

Florida’s utility regulator unanimously approved Tampa Electric Co.'s rates for 2021 this week.

Beginning in January 2021, Tampa Electric customers will see an 8 percent increase on their monthly bills, bringing the average bill to $105.25 per 1,000 kilowatt hours. The driving factor behind the increase, Tampa Electric said, is rising costs for natural gas.

“It’s important to note that today’s approved adjustment will not take effect until January and is in line, and often lower, when compared to electricity prices in the past 10 years,” said Tampa Electric CEO Nancy Tower.

Related: Tampa Bay power companies seek rate changes for 2021

Tampa Electric’s bills rank on the lower end of the spectrum compared to its investor-owned peers in the state.

The Florida Public Service Commission approved an average monthly bill of $99.05 per 1,000 kilowatt hours for Florida Power & Light, $129.88 per 1,000 kilowatt hours for Florida Public Utilities Co. and $140.62 per 1,000 kilowatt hours for Gulf Power Co.

Duke Energy Florida will have a separate rate hearing for its bills in December. Earlier this fall, Duke Energy filed to decrease bills by $3.63 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, which would bring customers’ average monthly bill to $126.63 per 1,000 kilowatt hours.

Even if its rates are approved, customers will also likely see a small increase — less than 50 cents — during the first quarter of 2021 as two of its solar plants come online.

Tampa Electric also has solar plans on the horizon next year. Regulators this week approved the utility’s fourth phase of its current solar expansion, the first three phases of which brought 572 megawatts of solar power online since 2018.

This current phase will be completed by January. Customers will see an uptick in bills for January of 44 cents to cover the cost.

The expansion is part of Tampa Electric’s push to establish 1,255 megawatts of solar power by 2023, enough to power 200,000 homes.