Gulf Power Company is asking the Florida Public Service Commission to approve a two-step price increase to help pay for the largest power grid construction program in the history of the company.
Over the next three years, the company is building and replacing power lines and infrastructure some more than 70 years old to keep electricity flowing to its 430,000 customers. In addition, new lines and equipment are needed to comply with new mandatory federal environmental regulations.
The first increase would not take effect until April 2014, and it would increase the total bill for a residential customer buying 1,000 kilowatt hours by $8.94 per month or 7.5% from the current price of $118.88 to $127.82.
The second step of the increase related to the new environmental requirements would not occur until 2015 and would raise the monthly bill an additional $1.99.
Stan Connally, Gulf Power President & CEO, cited aged, obsolete equipment and facilities that are at or beyond life cycle that must be upgraded and replaced.
Part of the new transmission line construction is to help the company comply with new federal environmental regulations that will change the way the company operates its plants and will require plants to be shut down at regular intervals. The new lines and equipment will be used to ensure voltage stability and reliable power flow while the plants are offline.