TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Electric customers will be paying about 10 percent more starting in April after regulators approved the company’s request for the rate hike.
TECO said the typical residential customer’s monthly energy bill will increase by about 10 percent, or $14.41, to $161.13 for 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of use, from the $146.72 customers pay today. Commercial and industrial customers’ increases will rise between 5 percent and 10 percent, depending on usage.
The Public Service Commission unanimously approved TECO’s request to seek uncollected fuel costs from last year and expenses for the restoration efforts after Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, the company said.
TECO said the price of natural gas tripled between 2020 and 2022 due to global and economic conditions.
The company said it waited until early this year to make the request to help mitigate the impact on customer bills, as natural gas prices dropped and began to stabilize.
TECO said bills will adjust in April. “Even with the change, the typical residential bill would remain among the lowest in Florida,” the company said.
The adjustment is the second of two steps. To further reduce the impact on customers, TECO said the company spread out fuel costs of 21 months, through the end of 2024.
Storm costs will be spread over 12 months, TECO said. Fuel and storm costs are passed directly to customers without any markup by the utility.
“We are proud to provide great value to our customers every day, and we worked hard to reduce the impact of these unforeseen events,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “We encourage customers to use our many free programs to better manage electricity use, which can lead to lower bills. If more help is needed, we can provide information on additional options.”
Tampa Electric said it is working directly with customers to ease the strain of higher energy bills.
To help customers, the company said it has:
- Created a dedicated customer assistance team to connect eligible customers with financial assistance and to ensure they get the help they need.
- Contributed $2 million to help qualified customers pay past-due bills.
- Streamlined the application for certain financial assistance programs and reduced paperwork.
- Worked with thousands of customers to provide payment arrangements and waive certain fees.
- Reduced customer fuel costs by about $80 million in 2022 because of its investment in clean, renewable solar power.
For commercial customers, the company said it provides energy conservation programs and energy audits to help use energy more efficiently.
If you need help paying your electric bill, you can call Tampa Electric to set up a payment plan or call 211 to find other financial assistance programs.