TECO Customers Face Higher Rates, Lower Bills In May
By RUSSELL RAY
TAMPA – State regulators are set to meet Tuesday to set rate increases for customers of Tampa Electric Co.
Last month, the Florida Public Service Commission approved a $104 million-a-year increase in base service rates for TECO customers. Tuesday, the commission will decide how the increase should be distributed among residential, commercial and industrial customers.
TECO estimates that residential customers will see bills rise less than $5 for 1,000 kilowatt hours. The new rates will take effect in May.
However, TECO customers will probably see bills fall — not rise — next month.
That’s because the commission also will consider a proposal to reduce fuel charges for TECO customers by $13 for 1,000 kilowatt hours. If the plan is approved, the cost of 1,000 kilowatt hours could fall by about $8 beginning next month.
Electric bills have two major components: a base rate from which utilities earn an approved rate of return and a fuel charge that reflects the utility’s cost for coal, natural gas and other fuels used to generate electricity.
By law, utilities are not allowed to make a profit on fuel charges. Fuel costs are passed on to customers with no markup.
TECO provides power to about 667,000 customers in Hillsborough County and portions of Pinellas, Polk and Pasco counties.
Reporter Russell Ray can be reached at (813) 259-7870.