Florida Homeowners Preparing for Higher Electric Bills This Month
By Space Coast Daily // February 9, 2023
Florida businesses and residents should expect an increase in their electric bills in 2023. State regulators recently greenlighted new costs that will boost electric bills for customers of four utility companies.
Moreover, the costs will increase again by February because natural gas for power plants will be more expensive. Customers of the following electric companies will be affected by the increase:
- Florida Power & Light (FPL)
- Florida Public Utilities Co. (FPU)
- Duke Energy Florida
- Tampa Electric Co. (TECO)
Andrew Fay, chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission, expressed his frustration about the increased costs brought by utilities reliant on natural gas. He urged the regulatory panel to consider risk management to address the volatility in fuel prices.
“We don’t control fuel, and that makes this extremely challenging,” he said.
The higher electricity prices can be attributed to the increasing cost of natural gas to fuel power plants. This year, fuel prices were 75 percent higher than prices in 2021. The figure reached its highest point since 2008. The increased cost pushed utility companies to foot the bill to customers.
In the state, customers’ bills are composed of different expenses, including base rates, environmental costs, and fuel costs. The Public Service Commission meets each fall to determine specific costs, including fuel, and how much consumers must pay in the following year. In computing rates, utilities use customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month as a benchmark.
On December 6, the commission completed the process of determining costs. In January next year, the new costs will take effect and will result in the following:
- Customers of Duke Energy Florida who use 1,000 kilowatt hours will see an increase in their electric bills from $150.02 to $168.90 in January.
- Customers of Florida Public Utilities Co. will see their bills increase from $142.80 to $175.46.
- Customers of Tampa Electric will see their electric bills go up from $132.66 to $146.72.
- The FPL will have two rates next year because of the merger with the former Gulf Power. Customers in areas traditionally served by the utility firm will see 1,000-kilowatt-hour bills increase from $120.67 to $125.39. Costs are expected to go up more to $129.59 in February.
- Meanwhile, customers of the former Gulf Power in Northwest Florida will see their bills go down a penny to $155.60. However, the bills will increase to $159.79 in February.
Residents and businesses concerned about the added costs can lower their electricity bills by saving energy. FPL offers energy-saving tips on its website to help its customers save money on electricity.
To conserve energy, residents and businesses should keep the following tips in mind:
- According to FPL, the average household spends roughly $15 to $20 per month to heat water. Residents should try lowering the temperature of their water heater by 10 degrees. Doing so can help save from three to five percent of their energy costs.
- Businesses should review their policies so they can contribute to the effort of conserving energy. Business managers should check their information technology (IT) department and identify the areas where they can cut down on electricity expenses. To help in this effort, managers can hire IT professionals who can optimize their systems.
- Residents should cool homes at 78°F with the thermostat fan on auto. They should also raise their thermostat to 82°F when not at home.
- When heating their homes, homeowners should set their thermostat to 68° F with the thermostat fan on auto. They should also lower their thermostat to 65° F at night or when they are away from home.
- Shut down the ceiling fan when leaving the room. Keeping the fan on all the time can cost up to $7 per month.
- Floridians should clean or replace the aircon filter regularly. Doing so helps the unit run more efficiently and lowers cooling costs.
- Residents should use the correct water level to match the load size when using a washing machine. They should also use a cold rinse whenever possible.
- Homeowners should replace old showerheads with water-efficient showerheads. This change can help them save up to $80 a year.
- Residents should clean the lint filter in the dryer regularly or before every load. This practice can help dry clothes faster and can prevent fire hazards at home.
- Save energy by refraining from over-drying clothes.
As of 2021, FPL is the country’s largest electric utility. It serves more American customers and sells more power than any other utility company. It provides clean, affordable, and reliable electricity to over 12 million people.
Florida Public Utilities Co. (FPU) provides homes and businesses with natural gas, propane, and electric services. The company works to help Florida residents and institutions conserve energy and save on electricity costs.
Duke Energy is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the company has electric utilities that serve 8.2 million customers all over the country. The company’s natural gas unit alone serves 1.6 million customers.
Tampa Electric (TECO) is a subsidiary of Canadian energy and services company Emera Inc. The company provides cost-effective and reliable energy to address its customers’ needs. They aim to develop cleaner, more sustainable, and affordable energy solutions.