TECO customers should see lower bills
Tampa Bay Business Journal – by Janet Leiser Staff Writer
Tampa Electric Co. has good news for its customers. Despite a base rate increase, commercial users should see monthly bills go down by as much as 14 percent.
The Florida Public Service Commission on April 7 approved new base rates for TECO that would add $2.60 to monthly bills for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours. But that increase will be offset by lower fuel costs resulting in an 11.2 percent monthly reduction of $14.38 for residential users.
Charges for commercial customers should go down by 5 percent to 14 percent, said TECO spokesman Rick Morera.
The residential base rate reflects Tampa Electric’s new two-tier or inverted base rate structure approved March 17 by the PSC. It’s designed to encourage the efficient use of energy by charging a higher rate for usage over 1,000 kilowatt-hours.
Industrial users, which are the largest users of electricity, should see bills decrease by 11 percent to 20 percent, Morera said.
TECO, with about 600,000 residential customers, was last granted a base rate increase in 1993. The new rates take effect May 7.
Tampa Electric’s west Central Florida service area covers 2,000 square miles, including all of Hillsborough County and parts of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
Base rates for PSC-regulated investor-owned utilities in Florida include the cost of building and operating generating plants, transmission and distribution lines and other facilities used to serve customers. Base rates include an authorized rate of return but do not include fuel costs.
TECO requested an adjustment to its fuel charges due to lower natural gas prices. Fuel rates are usually reviewed annually.
The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability and service.
Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and distribution and energy-related businesses.