1. Business

Rate hikes ahead: Duke Energy seeks 8.5 percent, Tampa Electric a more modest 1 percent bump

Construction continues on the combined cycle natural gas plant at Duke Energy's Crystal River Energy Complex in Citrus County. In Florida, Duke has filed for an 8.5 percent rate increase for next year.
[MONICA HERNDON | Times file photo]
Published Aug. 26, 2017

Depending on where you live across the Tampa Bay metro area, your monthly electric bill could be going up quite a bit next year.

Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. late this week both filed late this week to increase customers' monthly electric bills. If approved, Duke customers will pay a hefty 8.5 percent more in 2018, raising rates to $128.54 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, the average energy use per home each month.

Tampa Electric customers would see a more palatable 1 percent increase, making their rate $106 per 1,000 kilowatt hours.

The new prices, if approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, would begin in January.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of electricity for Florida in June was $117 per 1,000 kilowatt hours.

Duke — which serves 1.8 million customers in Florida and has its state headquarters in St. Petersburg — already charges some of the highest rates in Florida among the major utilities.

"Safe, reliable, clean energy is important to all our customers. It's important to us, too," Harry Sideris, Duke's president, said in a release.

RELATED COVERAGE: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

Tampa Electric, which operates in Hillsborough County and parts of Pinellas, Pasco and Polk, is owned by Canadian energy company Emera Inc. It currently charges $104.68 per 1,000 kilowatt hours.

"Although natural gas prices remain low, the proposed increase is due to a 2017 refund to customers that is cycling off bills for 2018," Tampa Electric said in a release. "The refund was related to over-collected fuel expense from a previous year."

Duke customers' bump is more complex. The bulk of it comes from what Duke says is increased fuel costs.

The $128.54 per 1,000 kilowatt hours bill includes an additional: $7.14 for this year's underestimated fuel costs; $1.43 for purchased power recovery costs; 7 cents for environmental recovery costs; $2.50 for costs related to the abandoned plan to build a new nuclear power plant in Levy County, $1.52 for a previously completed power-increasing project on the now-shuttered Crystal River nuclear power plant, and 11 cents for energy efficiency programs recovery costs.

RELATED COVERAGE: Florida PSC approves Duke $50 million request for paying for nuclear project.

Charles Rehwinkel, a lawyer who advocates for consumers on behalf of the Office of Public Counsel in Tallahassee, said his office hasn't had a chance to look closely at the Duke filing yet but will be checking to see if it is reasonable.

"What we'll be doing when that hearing opportunity comes up is get these costs down and see what we think is reasonable and unreasonable, especially given the magnitude of it," he said.

The PSC will hold hearings on the both Duke's and Tampa Electric's proposed rate hikes Oct. 25 through Oct. 27.

Contact Malena Carollo at or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.


  1. Tampa Bay Lighting host a watch party on the beach at the Tradewinds resort on St. Pete Beach in February. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    TradeWinds is the biggest resort in Pinellas County.
  2. A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from over Tampa Bay.
    The news that the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation wants to change its name to include “Tampa Bay” has been met with resistance.
  3. The Whole Coffee Company makes Dunkin’-branded Coffee Thins as well as Tim Hortons Double Double bars and its own Whole Coffee Company-branded nudge coffee bars. (Photo courtesy The Whole Coffee Company) The Whole Coffee Company
    The Whole Coffee Company, which is based in Miami, was previously known as Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa. ProspEquity Partners of Tampa owns a majority stake in Whole Coffee.
  4. The Corona Cove opens as the Florida Aquarium's new outdoor bar. The beer company is pledging continued donations to aid conservation efforts. Florida Aquarium
    The beer company also has pledged donations to aid conservation efforts.
  5. The Triton cantaloupe, created with help from Eckerd College. Eckerd College
    The St. Petersburg college teamed up with a central Florida plant breeder to create the Triton cantaloupe.
  6. FILE - In this May 14, 2019, fiel photo, containers are piled up at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China’s economic growth slowed to a 26-year low in the latest quarter as a tariff war with Washington weighed on exports and auto sales and other domestic activity weakened. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.2 percent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6 percent, data showed Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. AP
    Growth in the world’s second-largest economy slipped to 6% in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2%, data showed Friday.
  7. Ryan Cummings, 23, left, and Alex Frey, 25, both of Tampa, rent Spin electric scooters from a corral located along Zack Street in May. St. Petersburg hopes to soon launch it's own scooter program. CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The city wants to avoid other cities’ mistakes. Scooters will not be allowed on sidewalks and must be parked in designated corrals.
  8. Sam's Club fulfillment center manager Nick Barbieri explains to a shopper how the new Scan & Go shop works at 5135 S Dale Mabry Highway. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The shuttered store has been reinvented and debuted to the community.
  9. Yogi Goswami
    The Molekule Air Mini is a scaled-down version of its original purifier.
  10. 580 Corporate Center in Oldsmar Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets
    The six-building center is 91 percent occupied.