Higher fuel costs to hit TECO customers after state approves rate hike

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - More Florida residents are about to feel the pain of high natural-gas costs.

The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposal by Tampa Electric Co. to collect additional money from customers to cover higher-than-expected costs of fuel for power plants. The commission during the past three months also gave similar approvals to Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida.

The Tampa Electric increases will take effect in April. For example, residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see their bills jump from $120.91 to $131.87, according to the commission and the utility.

Utilities generally are allowed to pass along fuel costs to customers and are not supposed to profit from those costs. Each year, the commission sets the amounts that utilities can collect for fuel in the following year. But if costs are higher than expected, utilities can seek what are known as "mid-course corrections" that allow them to increase the amounts that customers pay.
Sunset at the power station. by Ginger Jordan is licensed under Unsplash unsplash.com
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