Duke Energy requests price hike as natural gas prices continue to climb

Pinellas County
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Duke Energy Florida asked for another price adjustment due to the continuing rise of natural gas prices. As a result, they’ve proposed a fuel adjustment that would spread costs to consumers over a year-long period, rather than just in 2022.

The power company made an announcement on their proposed increases on Friday, Dec. 17. In the announcement, Duke said the “volatile natural gas prices” are causing them to seek the fuel adjustment, rather than have it impact customers’ bills.

“Since January 2021, natural gas prices have increased almost 45% and remain volatile due to a number of unique events that drove up prices and caused supply uncertainty,” Duke said in a statement. “This is impacting not only utility companies but also a variety of other industries that rely on natural gas, as well.”

Instead, their proposal would have bills increase a few dollars from March 2022 to early in 2023. The announcement from Duke estimates the increase on bills will be about $6.62 per month for 2022.

Taking effect from March 2022 to February 2023, instead of a shorter 10-month period in 2022, Duke said it would potentially save their customers money, with bills rising between just 4% and 10%.

“We want to help our customers who may already be struggling to pay their current energy bills,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “We are working hard to minimize the impact and provide customers the opportunity to better manage their energy usage and reduce their bills.”

The company said they are also working to manage their fuel and generation resources “in the most cost-effective manner for our customers.”

By doing so, the company believes their rate mitigation plan will reduce “price pressure” on their customers.

The Rate Mitigation Plan was previously approved by the Florida Public Service Commission on Nov. 2. The new proposal from Duke would be an additional price adjustment.

The plan approved in November will remain in place over the next two years, and is supposed to benefit customers by spreading the recovery of about $247 million in unrecovered fuel costs over 2022 and 2023. It also foregoes immediate costs from storm damage and other events. Early estimates say customer bills will save $4.67 thanks to the Rate Mitigation Plan.

Starting in 2022, residential customers can also expect to see the removal of credit card fees for their bills.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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