Gulf Power to Merge with Florida Power and Light
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A new year means new changes when it comes to how residents of Northwest Florida will handle their power bills. On January 1st, Gulf Power is transitioning to Florida Power and Light. This means that all communication and customer bills will now be coming from FPL.
“FPL and NextEra energy bought Gulf Power a few years ago, and since then we’ve been working to merge together into one electric utility across Florida,” Sarah Gatewood, Manager of Communications for Gulf Power / FPL, said. The reasoning behind this merge? According to FPL, building a more resilient and sustainable energy future that everyone can depend on is essential, given our state is on the front lines of climate change and severe weather. “When we have a bigger company we have greater economies to scale and we can help keep costs lower for our customers than we could by operating two different systems,” Gatewood said.
Gatewood added the company has come up with ways to make its systems more efficient and cost-friendly. “We’ve gotten rid of the coal plant in Northwest Florida and moved that over to run off of natural gas which is cleaner and more efficient, and lower cost than what coal has been. We’ve also invested in clean solar energy which is emissions-free,” Gatewood said.
Your bills will reflect these changes over time. “Our customers in Northwest Florida will see an increase in their bills in January and a lot of that will depend upon how much you use,” Gatewood said. She also said this is only temporary. “Costs will decrease every year after that until, by the end of five years, we are paying the same rates as all other FPL customers across the state of Florida.”
There are ways you can save in the meantime. “We have an online free tool called energy check-up where you can enter your account information and it can look at your account and help you identify where you might be using more power.” This tool can allow you to make small changes around the house that Gatewood claimed can bring big savings.
While the transition takes place, their website, app, and parts of their phone systems will be down from December 30th through January 2nd, opening back up on January 3rd.
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