PSC Looks at Huge Increases in Power Bills for Some

Brace yourself! Just when gas prices have begun to moderate, the largest single monthly rate for electricity is about to hit.

Florida’s electric utilities began three days of hearings in Tallahassee Monday, seeking payment for higher fuel charges.

The largest monthly hike in 50 years is about to show up on your electric bill. The states biggest utilities are asking to pass on higher costs for natural gas. Gulf Power will have a much smaller increase

For Progress Energy, 1,000 kilowatts would go up 11.78 a month to just under a hundred ten dollars. C. J. Drake, a Progress Energy explained the formula.

“So it’s a mix of projected costs and actual costs for the past year and several months.”

For FP&L, a 16 percent hike amounts to $14.34 a month more for a total of 106.36.

Bill Swain of FP&L says it’s almost unheard of.

“Anything involving natural gas and oil at this point, we’ve never seen such extraordinary costs.”

The Florida Public Service Commission must pass on the requests, but even the power companies' biggest critics, like John McWerter of the Industrial Power Users Group, say it’s inevitable.

“But I think you need to look at anything you can to ameliorate that hit. Fuel prices this year are up almost 50 percent.”

The AARP was out in force, suggesting more needs to be done by the companies to diversify. Nikita Ramzee is a single mother who says she’ll need help with the higher rates.

“I’m not getting help from their father, so now I have to take two jobs, work at day and work at night.”

Once approved, the higher charges will show up on your January electricity bill.

Gulf Power customers will fair much better on fuel adjustment charges. They are expected to range between $3.00 and 5.00 a month, comparable to this same time last year.

A Gulf Power spokeswoman, Lynn Erickson, says the reason the adjustment is much lower here is due to the fact Gulf Power is 75 percent coal fired and uses some natural gas and very little oil.