TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Members of The Cleo Institute were joined by climate activists to express concerns about Tampa Electric’s practices at a press conference Friday morning.

The activists say they are concerned with TECO’s use of fossil fuels and how its impacting Tampa Bay area residents and wildlife.

“People’s lives are at stake when they continue to operate with a burning fossil fuel consistently,” said Walter Smith, an Environmental Engineer.

According to a TECO spokesperson, the company has reduced its use of coal by about 90 percent since 2000. This year, the company’s fuel mix is expected to be about 85 percent natural gas, nearly 10 percent solar and five percent coal, which they say is used for fuel diversity.

TECO leaders say the cost of natural gas has tripled between 2020 and 2022 and that’s part of the reason customers are experiencing bill increases.

“They intend to continue investing in these expensive volatile fuels instead of switching over their investments to cleaner, renewable energy which would save money for everybody,” said Brooke Ward, Food & Water Watch.

Climate activists with The Cleo Institute say they want an opportunity to sit down with TECO leadership to discuss what they believe are better options.