Gulf Power and the Office of Public Counsel are asking the Florida Public Service Commission to approve a settlement relating to a rate request filed in October. The two entities were able to reach the agreement through the weekend. All parties who intervened in the original case dropped their opposition. Those included the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Walmart, the Federal Executive Agencies and the Florida Industrial Power Users Group.
Gulf Power’s request would allow the company to continue to invest in the reliability of the energy grid and maintain a balanced energy mix, including 24/7 energy sources as well as renewables like wind and solar. A balanced energy mix ensures customers have energy whenever they need it and helps keep prices lower.
“This compromise is good for all involved, including Gulf Power’s customers,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power Chairman, President & CEO. “Most importantly, it supports our current infrastructure investment — which ultimately helps us continue to provide our customers with long-term, reliable service with a balanced energy mix across Northwest Florida.”
The proposed residential Advanced Pricing Package, which included an increase to the fixed charge and a decrease to the energy charge, is not a part of the settlement agreement and will not be implemented.
“We will continue to explore other options that give our customers the value that they expect through bill predictability and choice in pricing based on how our customers prefer to control their energy usage,” said Connally. “We will continue to gather customer feedback and find opportunities to deliver service to fit the lives of our customers.”
The average residential customer bill is currently $144. If the settlement is approved by the FPSC, that same bill will increase to an estimated $151. This new amount would be less than the average residential customer paid in 2015. Originally, the energy provider filed a request that, if approved, would have increased the cost for an average residential customer to $158 per month on July 1.
Connally cited the need to continue to invest in the reliability of the grid to ensure a secure energy future.
“Our obligation is to have the electricity available when and where our customers need it,” Connally said. “This investment is necessary to meet the expectations of our customers now, and for future generations.”
The PSC will make a decision on the settlement agreement on April 4.
Gulf Power residential price changes (Average residential customer monthly bill)
|January 2010||$155.50||Increase for Scrubber|
|July 2012||$127.64||The largest decrease in company history|
|January 2014||$149.59||Increase for largest power grid construction project in company history|
|July 2017||$151||Estimated base rate increase if settlement is approved by the FPSC|