Tampa Electric has plans that will create a brighter energy future for our communities and help keep bills lower and more predictable long term
TAMPA, February 1, 2021
Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2021) – Tampa Electric today notified the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) that it expects to file a formal rate case application this spring. The company has operated under rate agreements since 2013, and the current agreement expires at the end of 2021. If approved, the new rates would take effect in January 2022.
Tampa Electric serves nearly 800,000 customers in West Central Florida and is planning for more growth as the population expands. As the company prepares for the future, this increase would allow Tampa Electric to continue to make significant investments that are meaningful to its customers and the communities where they live and work, while keeping rates well below the national average.
“We are proud of the cleaner, greener company we’re becoming, and we know that the investments we are planning are necessary to deliver additional benefits over time,” said Nancy Tower, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “By modernizing our power plants and making them more efficient, as well as expanding solar generation, we are improving air quality in the region, reducing carbon emissions and keeping customer bills low and more predictable.”
Ongoing and planned projects at Tampa Electric are reducing carbon emissions significantly. By 2023, the reduction will equate to removing more than 1 million cars from local roadways. A multi-year project to build a smarter grid and upgrade equipment will deliver safe, more reliable and affordable energy to customers, as well as improved outage detection and restoration capabilities. The company also plans to make digital enhancements that give the customer more convenience and choice and to replace street lights and area lights with smart LED technology throughout its service area, further reducing carbon emissions and allowing for quicker repair, keeping our communities well-lit and safe.
The company has already invested significantly since its last increase, delivering on a disciplined, well-planned strategy that improved reliability, increased overall customer satisfaction and kept bills low. In fact, bills dropped 3 percent over the past eight years.
“We have focused on operational and financial improvements, as we believe this is what positions us best for long-term success, and there are other important benefits as well. Through enhancements to our power plants and investments in solar, we reduced carbon emissions by 50 percent since 2000 and have reduced coal use by more than 90 percent since 2013, with plans for continued reductions,” Tower said.
The new rate agreement, if approved by the PSC, would have numerous long-term benefits for customers and the region, including the generation of more clean energy, continued modernization of our plants and grid, and digital enhancements that give more convenience and control to residential and business customers.
Current plans include:
• Reducing carbon emissions, with major projects to transition its power plants to lower carbon-emitting fuels, such as natural gas. That includes the Big Bend modernization project, which by 2023 will include state-of-the-art combined-cycle technology that eliminates coal as the fuel for Unit 1. These enhancements help improve fuel generation efficiency, which will produce additional fuel savings for customers. The company also is retiring Big Bend units 2 and 3 early. The manatees in the Big Bend discharge canal will not be affected by these retirements.
• Generating more renewable energy, as Florida’s top producer of solar energy per customer. With its expansion of solar energy, Tampa Electric is projecting large reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Current solar projects power more than 100,000 homes, businesses and schools. Within two years, nearly 14 percent of Tampa Electric’s energy will be generated with solar power – the highest percentage of any utility in the state and enough to power more than 200,000 homes. Long-term, as the company continues to shift power generation to solar, these solar investments will help protect customers from fuel-price volatility and will produce fuel savings for customers.
• Meeting the demands of a growing population. With more than 20 million residents, Florida is one of the nation’s fastest-growing states, and the Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor is its fastest-growing area. As the trusted energy partner of West Central Florida, Tampa Electric is responsible for meeting this new demand for electric power. • Improving reliability. To continue delivering safe and reliable service to our growing region, maintenance and modernization of the grid and equipment are essential to protect from severe weather and cyberattacks. By 2022, for example, the company will have spent $1.6 billion on projects to improve reliability, upgrade equipment and expand service.
• Focusing on being an energy-solutions partner that cares for the community. Tampa Electric is committed to giving back to the community by offering customers more energy-efficiency programs than any other electric utility in the state, helping to reduce energy consumption, saving customers money and helping the environment. Tampa Electric also will continue to design its rates so it remains less expensive to consume electricity under 1000 kilowatt-hours (kwh) in a month, which benefits low-income customers.
• Empowering customers through technology, with a multi-year project to build a smarter grid that delivers safe, more reliable and affordable energy. Through smart technology, every customer will experience improved outage detection and restoration capabilities. It also allows customers to monitor their energy use through their mobile devices, with usage data and usage alerts that help them make more informed choices and save money. • Making it easier for customers to do business, through digital enhancements that give customers more convenience and choice. Tampa Electric will provide self-service offerings, like a new chat function and a suite of online tools to help customers better manage their energy usage, allowing them to make better decisions for their homes and businesses. The company also aims to make significant upgrades to its website, which will make accounts easier to manage on any device, as well as automate some processes, leading to an easier and more effortless experience for everyone.
Overview of Proposal
Tampa Electric is seeking an initial increase of $280 million to $295 million in 2022, with smaller, incremental additions in subsequent years, which would be partially offset by related fuel savings from ongoing and planned projects. Long-term, less fuel will be consumed due to increased efficiency and shifting more power generation to solar. If approved as filed, the new 2022 rates would be only 4 percent higher than they were more than a decade ago – nearly 20 percent lower when adjusted for inflation. Residential bills would remain among the lowest in Florida and well below the national average.
Phased-in rate adjustments are critical for Tampa Electric to continue to provide safe, reliable and efficient electric service for the growing region as well as to meet customer expectations. The proposal would also include: • In 2023, an additional adjustment of $100 million as the company builds new solar plants and completes the Big Bend modernization project. • In 2024, a subsequent adjustment of about $30 million as the company builds new solar plants.
“To continue delivering the value our customers deserve, we must plan for the long term, making investments now that create a better energy future,” Tower said. “It is important to remember that rates would not change until 2022, and when new rates go into effect, our bills would remain among the lowest in Florida.”
Until Tampa Electric files its formal request, which is expected to occur this spring, all rate, bill and revenue figures are estimates. Customers can visit www.tampaelectric.com/rates to learn more about the request.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 800,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
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