Advertisement
  1. Business

Tampa Electric seeks rate hike topping an average $10 a month

Smoke and steam rise out of the stacks at Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Station. The company wants to lift average residential rates by $10.41.
Smoke and steam rise out of the stacks at Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Station. The company wants to lift average residential rates by $10.41.
Published Apr. 6, 2013

Tampa Electric wants its average residential customer to pay an extra $10.41 a month.

The utility, which filed its rate request with the state on Friday, also wants to bump up what its commercial and industrial customers pay by 6 percent.

The rate hike is needed to offset rising costs and sluggish growth, the utility said.

"It is important to remember that while the cost of nearly everything has gone up in recent years, Tampa Electric bills have gone down," said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric, part of TECO Energy. "We empathize with our customers who also are feeling the effects of a difficult economy.

"There is never a good time to raise rates, but even with this increase, Tampa Electric bills would remain among the lowest in Florida," Gillette said.

The state Public Service Commission must approve proposed the rate hike, which would increase the average residential customer's bill from $102.58 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage a month to about $113.

Later this year, the commission will consider fuel costs, which will also affect the final rate. About 50 percent of Tampa Electric's energy comes from coal and 50 percent from natural gas. Coal prices have largely been stable, but natural gas prices have increased slightly over a year ago after reaching historic lows.

If approved, the $10.41 increase would take effect Jan. 1.

State consumer advocates, led by the state Office of Public Counsel, said they would oppose the rate increase. J. R. Kelly, the state public counsel, said Tampa Electric's rate of return already is one of the highest in the state.

"It's extremely high," Kelly said. "We're going to have to take a very close look at everything. I don't know what the drivers are (for their request) . . . until we get into the weeds with their documentation."

Cherie Jacobs, a spokeswoman for the utility, said the rate increase will help cover the costs of $770 million in improvements to Tampa Electric's system, including 170 miles of new power lines, new fuel handling equipment at the Big Bend power station and a reclaimed water pipeline at the Polk Power Station.

"There's a number of factors at play," Jacobs said. "We've invested a significant amount in our network to improve reliability for our customers."

Even with the $10.41 increase, Tampa Electric's rates would remain below the rates for Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy and the Tampa Bay region's dominant power provider. Progress' rates stand at $116.06 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage.

Progress cannot seek an increase because of a settlement agreement that freezes rates through 2016.

Tampa Electric's request comes on the heels of a $350 million rate increase approved last year for the state's largest investor owned utility, Florida Power & Light, which serves South Florida.

Kelly's office fought FPL's rate increase to no avail. In the end, the utility bypassed the public counsel and reached a deal approved by the Public Service Commission.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. A rendering of the new Ulta created by Hennon Group Architects and included in the permits for the building filed with the City of Tampa.
  2. A rendering of the downtown Sarasota building that holds the office of Retirement Wealth Specialists.
  3. The Oaks Estate, a mansion owned by Lazydays RV co-founder Donald Wallace and his wife Erika. The property is a French-Normandy country-style gated manor build on Lake Thonotosassa listed on the market with an asking price of $17.5 million. It includes a main house, 2-story guest house, garage for up to 20 cars, workshop, pool house, gatehouse, horse barn with grazing pasture, indoor and outdoor pools, 2-story boat house, go-cart track, bowling alley and jogging trail pictured on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 in Thonotosassa.
  4. It's not a bad time to be looking for a job. [Scott Keeler, Times]
  5. A burgeoning private insurance market looks to relieve pressure from the National Flood Insurance Program. Pictured is water from heavy rain in August 2019 on Snell Isle Boulevard NE. [Times (2019)]
  6. A pair of wood storks, left, and a large group of white ibis rest and feed in a wetland area off Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida is home to more wetlands than any other state except Alaska. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2008)]
  7. People fill Community Cafe as drag queen Viktoria Sommers reads a Dr. Seuss book to children during Drag Queen Story Hour.  [Times (2019)]
  8. Tampa Electric Co. announced plans to double its solar capacity over the next three years.  Pictured is a Tampa Electric worker installing a solar panel on the roof of the Tampa International Airport economy parking garage in 2015. [James Borchuck | Times (2015)]
  9. Wawa and Coppertail partnered to create a craft beer that will only be at the gas station's Florida locations.
  10. The Publix at Channelside (pictured) opened in late August. Now the new store at Westshore in Tampa will open later this month. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  11. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  12. Daily recreations like this Bible scene at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando will end at the Christian theme park, which has been suffering from low attendance and debt for years.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement