Tampa Electric files for 19 percent rate hike

Its request comes during one of the most high-stakes years for rate hikes in a decade.
Tampa Electric Co. asked for a 19 percent rate hike for the coming year. Pictured is the company's headquarters in 2017. | [Times (2017)]
Tampa Electric Co. asked for a 19 percent rate hike for the coming year. Pictured is the company's headquarters in 2017. | [Times (2017)]
Published April 9, 2021|Updated April 9, 2021

Tampa Electric Co. asked regulators Friday for permission to raise customers’ rates by 19 percent beginning next year.

If approved, customers would pay $125.48 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, the average monthly energy use for a home. That’s just over $1 more than what the power company predicted in February when it let regulators know it intended to ask for an increase.

The $295 million it asked to collect from customers will pay for new solar projects and converting its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas. Tampa Electric also plans to make investments in its power grid to bolster reliability and security and to “(keep) pace with the demands of customers.”

Related: Tampa Electric to seek 18% rate hike to pay for solar

Its plan includes an additional charge of $102 million in 2023 for solar projects and converting Big Bend, as well as $25.6 million for solar power in 2024.

Tampa Electric’s request comes during one of the most significant years in a decade for rate changes.

Duke Energy Florida asked for permission to collect $5 billion from customers over three years beginning next year, amounting to a 3 to 4 percent rate hike. The plan, which followed five months of negotiations between the Office of Public Counsel, Nucor Steel Florida, Florida Industrial Power Users Group and White Springs Agricultural Chemicals.

Related: Duke Energy Florida proposes plan to revamp energy grid

The agreed-upon plan was the final work of longtime consumer advocate J.R. Kelly, who led the Office of Public Counsel. The office represents utility customers before regulators, and legislation passed last year placed new limits on his term.

Kelly’s successor, Richard Gentry, is a career lobbyist who represented a utility-backed nonprofit in 2020. Gentry was the sole candidate left in the running after three other applicants for the position dropped out.

He will represent customers in Florida Power & Light’s case this year, which would be a $2 billion increase for rates over the coming four years.

The Florida Public Service Commission is expected to vote on the rate cases later this year.