Today, Gulf Power filed its preliminary plan with the Florida Public Service Commission to recover costs of restoring power to more than 136,000 customers and rebuilding the grid following unprecedented Hurricane Michael. The company is proposing to the FPSC that it approve a storm restoration surcharge of $8 per month for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, which will keep Gulf Power customer bills lower than January 2018. Commercial and industrial customers will see bills increase by 3-8 percent depending on the rate plan.
Over the last year, the company has reduced the typical 1,000-kWh bill by more than $15 a month through proactively passing savings, such as fuel costs, to customers. In an effort to reduce the economic impact of Hurricane Michael restoration costs on customers, the company proposes to spread the storm restoration surcharges over five years to ensure they will continue to experience a significant portion of the savings delivered over the last year.
“Hurricane Michael was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Northwest Florida, with Panama City and the surrounding areas of Bay County nearly destroyed, including critical infrastructure and the energy grid that serves our customers,” said Marlene Santos, Gulf Power President. “We know that many of our customers continue to face challenges due to the aftermath of Hurricane Michael and we have worked hard to propose a plan to the Florida Public Service Commission that takes this into account and supports our ability to continue to serve them with reliable service now and into the future.”
Gulf Power maintains a storm-recovery reserve to help offset expenses incurred after damages from storms like Hurricane Michael. For any expenses not covered by the storm-recovery reserve, Gulf Power must make a request before the FPSC. The Commission will look at these expenses and determine the best mode for recovery of the costs.
During recovery efforts like those seen in the wake of Hurricane Michael, the energy provider that serves the area incurs all the upfront costs of power restoration and rebuilding, including out-of-town crews, plus their housing, meals and transportation, security and more. Costs also include fuel for trucks, tree trimming, poles, transformers and power lines, and many other materials. Gulf Power is seeking to recover $342 million.
“Restoring power is the critical first step for communities and customers to begin the road to recovery. It means that people can begin repairing homes and businesses, getting back to school and work and rebuilding their lives as they create a new normal to move the community forward,” Santos said. “We never want to increase rates and it is helpful that Gulf Power has significantly lowered rates over the past year, which will relieve some of the impact from this storm restoration surcharge.”
The Edison Electric Institute presented Gulf Power with the association’s “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael in October 2018.
Gulf Power crews continue to connect customers as they have their homes and businesses repaired and work to return the company’s smart grid back to pre-storm reliability.
Gulf Power also offers these energy savings tips to assist customers in managing their energy usage.
Gulf Power residential price changes (using 1,000 kWh)
|April 2018||$131.28||Decrease for Corporate Tax Reform (2018 only)
Largest decrease in company history
|January 2019||$128.86||Decrease for additional Tax Reform savings and Clause savings|
|April 2019||$137.07||Increase for Hurricane Michael Restoration Surcharge if approved by FPSC|
NOTE: Prices listed above include gross receipt tax