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Higher bills ahead: Duke files to collect for Crystal River plant

 
Duke Energy Florida's natural gas plant in Crystal River is nearing completion. The utility filed to begin recouping costs in October. Pictured is the plant under construction in 2017. | [Monica Herndon | Times, 2017]
Duke Energy Florida's natural gas plant in Crystal River is nearing completion. The utility filed to begin recouping costs in October. Pictured is the plant under construction in 2017. | [Monica Herndon | Times, 2017]
Published April 3, 2018

CRYSTAL RIVER — Duke Energy Florida filed with regulators Monday to begin recouping the cost of a $1.5 billion natural gas plant it is building in Crystal River. If approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, customer bills will climb $3.61 per month beginning in October, and by an additional $2.27 per month beginning in December.

"Natural gas is also an important part of our modernization strategy to continue delivering energy that is cleaner while meeting the growing energy needs of Floridians," Harry Sideris, president of Duke Energy Florida, said in a release.

Previous coverage: Duke Energy quietly builds a $1.5 billion plant in Citrus County>

The plant, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will provide power for 1.8 million customers statewide. According to Duke, the project is currently on pace and on budget. The first of the two units being built will come online in September, followed by the second in November. At that time, Duke will retire two of its coal-fired units —1 and 2 —which account for half of its coal power in the state.

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Contact this reporter at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.