Lower natural gas costs push Duke Energy Florida to ask for lower rates in 2016

Duke Energy Florida has asked state regulators to let it lower electric rates for 2016, the utility reported Tuesday morning

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Duke Energy Florida has asked state regulators to let it lower electric rates for 2016, the utility reported Tuesday morning.

If approved by the Florida Public Service Commission and Duke issues low-interest bonds as planned, Florida residential customers could see their bills drop nearly 4 percent, or about $4.18, to an average bill of $117.41 for customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month. Duke’s release says this would be the third decrease in two years, with average bills falling from $125.29 per month in 2014, according to reports.

The company cited lower fuel costs, particularly natural gas prices, and “innovative planning” as the reasons behind the reductions.

"We continue to work hard to provide the best possible price for our customers," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president – Florida, in a statement. "Our successful cost management and careful planning is helping lower customer rates while we invest in affordable, clean energy and improve reliability for our customers every day. If approved as planned, our customers will be paying nearly 15 percent less for electricity than they were six years ago."

Business customers will get similar rate reductions depending on current rates, type of service and other factors. Individual bills will vary based on amount on how electricity customers use.

Duke Energy Florida owns and operates about 9,000 MW of electric capacity from coal-fired and natural gas generation. It has about 1.7 million customers.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based parent Duke Energy is the nation’s largest electric power holding company with about 7.3 million customers in six states.

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