Rate hike ahead for Tampa

TAMPA Electric rates will rise in 2014 if the Public Services Commission approves the company’s request filed on Friday.
Rate hike ahead for Tampa Rate hike ahead for Tampa Rate hike ahead for Tampa Rate hike ahead for Tampa Rate hike ahead for Tampa

The Big Bend plant, courtesy TECO Energy

Staff Reporter

The company wants to raise residential rates by about 10% or $10.41 a month and bump up what its commercial and industrial customers pay by 6%, starting in January 2014.

In a release Tampa Electric said the proposed rate hikes were needed to offset rising costs and were the company’s first requested rate increase in five years.

“It is important to remember that while the cost of nearly everything has gone up in recent years, Tampa Electric bills have gone down,” Tampa Electric president Gordon Gillette said.

“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.”

In the past four years, Tampa Electric’s residential customer bills have dropped by more than $12 and despite the changes, an average residential bill would remain 5% below the national average.

A residential customer who uses 1000 kilowatt hours a month currently pays $102.58 a month and if the changes are approved, is expected to pay about $113 a month.

About 50% of Tampa Electric's energy comes from coal and 50% from natural gas.

Coal prices have largely been stable but natural gas prices have increased slightly over the past year after previously reaching historic lows.

The PSC is expected to hold hearings about Tampa Electric’s request later this year, with the commission expected to vote on the issue by the end of the year.

The new rates would take effect on January 1, 2014.

Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy whose other main subsidiary is TECO Coal.

TECO Energy’s profits slipped in 2012 and it saw a decline in net income from $272.6 million in 2011 to $212.7 million in 2012.

TECO Coal reported a full-year profit of $50.2 million for 2012, down 2.6% on the previous year as a higher price per ton failed to compensate for lower tonnages sold.

Tampa Electric previously reported it was experiencing pressure from a slow economic recovery and mounting operations and maintenance costs.

The company’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.

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