Citing the need to continue to invest in the long-term reliability of Northwest Florida’s energy infrastructure, Gulf Power has filed a request with the Florida Public Service Commission to seek an increase in prices beginning in July.
Gulf Power’s residential customers’ prices are less than they were in 2015, and the energy provider expects prices will be even lower in January mainly because of fuel cost reductions brought about by careful planning to take advantage of lower prices in natural gas and coal used to generate electricity. Taking this into account, if this new request is approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, the average residential customer’s total monthly bill will increase by $10.22 per month or 7 percent — from $148.64 to $158.86.
Stan Connally, Gulf Power Chairman, President & CEO, said the energy provider works hard to control costs while planning for the future and delivering the reliable services their customers expect.
“We have worked hard to manage our costs and have lowered prices over the past two years,” said Connally. “In fact, we plan to do that again in January where the average residential customer will see a decrease of $4.63.”
The last time Gulf Power customers saw an increase was in January 2015. In comparing 2015 prices to the proposed prices, the average residential customer’s monthly bill will increase by only $2.50 per month, or less than 2 percent.
“Securing our customers’ energy future requires a balanced energy mix that includes renewables and 24/7 energy sources like natural gas and low-cost, cleaner-than-ever coal,” said Connally. “Energy security also includes long-term reliability. Since 2010, Gulf Power has improved its reliability by 40 percent and we must continue that trend of improvement. This means our customers are having fewer and shorter power outages — continuous improvement in this area is critical.”
Along with the request, Gulf Power is also seeking approval of new rate options for residential customers.
“Studies show that our customers are happier when their energy bills are more predictable and when they have choices. These options are designed to give customers more predictability in monthly bills reducing the increases associated with extreme weather months. In addition, two new options will offer residential customers more rate plan choices based on the way they use energy.”
The energy provider is also putting into place new options for greater customer convenience, including an improved online experience, additional payment locations at popular stores, and payment kiosks in their customer offices.
Gulf Power residential price changes (Average residential customer)
|September 2011||$146.76||Interim base rate increase|
|January 2012||$138.29||Clause decrease|
|March 2012||$134.59||Fuel clause decrease|
|April 2012||$138.65||Base rate increase|
|July 2012||$127.64||Fuel clause decrease – one of the largest decreases in company history|
|January 2013||$130.05||Clause and base rate increase|
|January 2014||$149.59||Clause increase
Base rate increase (Step 1) largest power grid construction project in company history
|January 2015||$156.36||Clause increase
Base rate step increase (Step 2) largest power grid construction project in company history
|January 2016||$148.64||Fuel/Conservation clause decrease|
|January 2017||$144.01||Clause decrease, primarily fuel clause decrease|
|July 2017||$158.86||Base rate increase if full amount is approved by the FPSC|
Monthly price for average residential customers.
Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements – This release contains forward-looking statements regarding Gulf Power’s filing with the Florida PSC to increase retail base rates. Gulf Power cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Gulf Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Gulf Power’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry, environmental laws, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Gulf Power is subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries, including, without limitation, the Internal Revenue Service and state tax audits; the effects, extent, and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Gulf Power operates; variations in demand for electricity, including those relating to weather, the general economy and recovery from the last recession, population and business growth (and declines), the effects of energy conservation and efficiency measures, including from the development and deployment of alternative energy sources such as self-generation and distributed generation technologies; available sources and costs of fuels; effects of inflation; investment performance of Gulf Power’s employee and retiree benefit plans; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; the ability to successfully operate Gulf Power’s generating, transmission, and distribution facilities and the successful performance of necessary corporate functions; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Gulf Power; the ability of counterparties of Gulf Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the ability to obtain new short- and long-term contracts with wholesale customers; the direct or indirect effect on Gulf Power’s business resulting from cyber intrusion or terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorist incidents; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; changes in Gulf Power’s credit ratings, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, and collateral requirements; the impacts of any sovereign financial issues, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, impacts on currency exchange rates, counterparty performance, and the economy in general; the ability of Gulf Power to obtain additional generating capacity (or sell excess generating capacity) at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on Gulf Power’s business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating resources; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard-setting bodies. Gulf Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.