Tampa Electric files for rate increase

Tampa Electric Co. filed its formal request with the Public Service Commission to raise residential rates by about 10 percent in January 2014

Tampa Electric Co. filed its formal request with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to raise residential rates by about 10 percent in January 2014. If the adjustment is approved, Tampa Electric's residential bills would remain among the lowest in the state.

As announced in February, Tampa Electric is seeking about $135 million in higher rates, or an increase of $10.41 a month, or 35 cents a day, for the average residential customer who uses 1,000 kWh a month. Typical commercial and industrial customers would see increases of about 6 percent.

If approved as filed, the average residential bill would be about $113 a month — a lower bill than six years ago. That bill would remain 5 percent below the national average, which was $118.90 in January 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the past four years, Tampa Electric's residential customer bills have dropped by more than $12. A residential customer who uses 1,000 kWh a month currently pays $102.58 a month.

"It is important to remember that while the cost of nearly everything has gone up in recent years, Tampa Electric bills have gone down," said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. "We empathize with our customers who also are feeling the effects of a difficult economy. There is never a good time to raise rates, but even with this increase, Tampa Electric bills would remain among the lowest in Florida."

The PSC is expected to hold hearings about Tampa Electric's request later this year, and the PSC is expected to vote on the issue by the end of the year. The new rates would take effect in 2014.

Tampa Electric last requested a rate increase in 2008. Since then, the company has increased reliability: Over the past five years, Tampa Electric's customers have had the fewest — and among the shortest — interruptions among Florida's investor-owned utilities. In that time, Tampa Electric also has invested in projects such as a reclaimed water pipeline to serve the Polk Power Station; Big Bend solid-fuel handling equipment; and transmission expansion and improvements.

Tampa Electric Co. is the principal unit of TECO Energy Inc. (TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Tampa Electric serves more than 687,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy's other major unit, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia.

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