Progress Energy refund due
By RICHARD MULLINS
Progress Energy customers in Florida can look forward to an extra quarter or so in their pocket each month next year, thanks to a $7.6 million refund imposed by state regulators.
This comes from the Florida Public Service Commission, which ruled this week that Progress paid too much for coal to run its power plants in 2006 and 2007. Because utilities pass on such fuel costs to electricity users, the PSC said customers paid too much, too.
Don’t look for a check in the mail. Progress and state regulators this autumn will calculate new fuel costs for 2010 and factor in the refund as a discount on fuel rates for the year, whatever they may be, plus interest.
That will affect Progress customers in 35 Florida counties, including about 520,000 in Pinellas County and 130,000 in Pasco County.
This follows a similar action in 2007, when Progress Energy was ordered to refund $13.8 million for excessive fuel costs from 2003 to 2005. This week’s decision is an offshoot of that earlier case.
Progress officials, for their part, say they were frugal shoppers for coal and that customers would have paid an extra $3 million to $4 million total under the state’s recommended buying methods.