Florida Public Service Commission grants Tampa Electric first base rate increase in 16 years
Increase will be offset by lower fuel charges resulting in lower average residential bills beginning May 7
TAMPA, March 17, 2009
Today Tampa Electric received approval from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to increase base rates for the first time since 1993. While the Commission must still make decisions regarding final rate structures, it is estimated that the average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month could realize a base rate increase of less than five dollars. This increase will be more than offset by the company’s pending request to lower the fuel portion of its rates, which would be about a $13 per month decrease for a 1,000 kilowatt-hour customer. Both charges should take effect in May.
President Chuck Black said, “Although the company did not receive its entire request, we respect the Commission’s decision and will continue to work to provide our customers with the quality service they have come to know from Tampa Electric. We understand the challenging economic circumstances faced by our customers and are doing our best to minimize costs while safely and reliably delivering electricity.”
Under Florida law, a utility’s base rate includes the costs to build, maintain and operate the electrical system. The base rate includes the cost of generating plants, transmission and distribution lines and facilities necessary to serve customers and the opportunity to provide investors a reasonable return. The fuel charge primarily reflects the cost of fuel to produce electricity and is passed through to customers by Tampa Electric without mark-up or profit.
From 1993 through the end of 2009, Tampa Electric will have invested more than $3.4 billion in transmission, distribution and other facilities in order to provide environmentally responsible and reliable energy for its customers. During this same time, the company added more than 200,000 new customers and realized an increase in peak demand of over 50 percent.
In its decision, the FPSC approved Tampa Electric’s request for an energy efficiency- focused residential rate that offers a lower charge for the first 1,000 kilowatt-hours used each month. They also approved the company’s request for an adjustment to customer charge and service charge pricing. Under the new rates, the standard residential customer charge will increase from $8.50 per month to $10.50 per month.
Tampa Electric recognizes that its customers want to use energy wisely and the company offers residential and commercial customers many comprehensive energy-efficiency programs. Customer participation in the company’s energy-efficiency programs – established in 1979, prior to any state or federal requirements – has helped offset the need to generate enough power to serve 630,000 homes for one year.
The company’s residential energy-efficiency programs include Energy Planner™, which enables residential participants to take advantage of near real-time prices for electricity through the use of a programmable thermostat, installed by Tampa Electric at no cost to the customer. During the program’s three-year pilot period, Energy Planner helped participating customers save an average of one month’s electricity consumption annually on their electricity costs. With Tampa Electric’s Low-Income Weatherization Program, households that qualify receive free energy-saving items and upgrades to their homes.
Among energy-efficiency programs available to commercial customers, Tampa Electric’s Networked Demand Response option makes incentives available to businesses for reducing their energy usage during peak-demand times.
For more information on the company’s energy-efficiency programs, visit online: www.tampaelectric.com.
Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company, with regulated utility operations in Florida including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and distribution and energy-related businesses in Guatemala.
Note: This release contains forward-looking statements, which are subject to the inherent uncertainties in predicting future results and conditions. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those forecasted. The forecasted information is based on the company’s current expectations and assumptions, and the company does not undertake to update that information or any other information contained in this release, except as may be required by law. Fuel prices are dependent on market conditions, and customer rates are dependent on many factors, including actions by the FPSC. Additional information is contained under “Risk Factors” in TECO Energy, Inc.’s and Tampa Electric Company’s combined Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended Dec. 31, 2008.
Note to journalists: Tampa Electric’s Web site includes an interactive infographic describing the components of an electric bill.