Dear Valued Customer,
This is Archie Collins, President and CEO of Tampa Electric. I am reaching out to discuss an important subject: higher-than-normal bills resulting from the combination of (a) elevated 2022 fuel costs that are affecting 2023 rates, and (b) one of the hottest summers on record. We understand the importance of affordable and reliable energy, and we are working hard to provide possible solutions and ease the financial strain.
First, a bit of good news.
We intend to significantly decrease electric bills for 2024. On August 16, 2023, we filed a request with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to reduce bills, based on projected costs for fuel, storm costs and new solar plants we are constructing this year. If approved, in January the typical residential customer’s monthly energy bill would decrease by about 11 percent. Commercial and industrial customers would see a decrease between 10 and 18 percent. Reductions can vary, depending on usage. For a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, the monthly bill would drop by $17.65, to $143.48. With this reduction, Tampa Electric rates would be well below the national average and remain among the lowest in Florida. The requested reduction is primarily attributed to lower natural gas prices in 2023 – which are forecasted to remain lower into 2024. For more details, visit TampaElectric.com/Rates.
Second, I want to address high summer bills and make you aware of the changes we’ve implemented to help our customers.
We realize that even with an expected reduction next year, high summer bills remain a concern for many customers. We have experienced record-breaking temperatures and very little rain, leading to an extremely high heat index. The hotter it feels, the more likely customers are to crank up their air conditioner - which uses a lot of energy. We have seen back-to-back days of record-breaking energy use in our service territory as a result. While we know our customers look forward to some relief as temperatures cool this fall, we have taken several steps to help customers now:
- We donated $1 million to help qualified customers pay past-due bills via our Share program, which assists residential customers having difficulty making utility bill payments. If you are in need of assistance, call 211.
- And if you’re able to contribute to this fund to help a neighbor in need, your support would be greatly appreciated. Visit TampaElectric.com/Share.
- We paused disconnections during periods of extreme heat - when temperatures are 93 degrees or higher.
- We introduced longer-term payment arrangements for the remainder of the year. To discuss what payment options are available, call us at 888-223-0800 (Residential) or 866-832-6249 (Business).
Third, I’d like to offer solutions that can help you save.
To help you stay cool and manage your energy usage, our energy experts developed some hot weather tips that can help you keep things in check. One of the most important tips is to set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Every degree below 78 will increase the AC portion of your bill – which is about 50 percent of your bill in the summer – by six to seven percent. For a bill that is about $200, if you normally keep your AC at 72, you can save more than $40 per month by turning it up to 78 degrees. Visit TampaElectric.com/SavingsTips and TampaElectric.com/BizSavingsTips for more ways to save.
Regardless of your financial situation, I urge you to take advantage of our many energy- and cost-saving programs. One such powerhouse program is Energy Planner. With a little planning, you can take advantage of lower rates throughout the day.
A newer program, Prime Time Plus, lets you earn credits on your bill by giving us permission to temporarily turn off certain equipment when there is extraordinarily high electricity demand.
In addition, many of our customers have had great success in lowering their bills by implementing recommendations from our free online Energy Audit. We also offer a free Energy Audit for commercial customers. Our energy experts can help you find opportunities to save energy and money.
In all, we offer more than 30 energy-saving programs – the most of any utility in the state – ensuring there are solutions for all of our residential and business customers. You can learn more at TampaElectric.com/Save (Residential) and TampaElectric.com/BizSave (Business).
Some customers may also qualify for assistance from federal and nonprofit programs for household expenses and utility bills. Tampa Electric has teamed up with community partners that can connect you to resources that are available. To learn more, visit TampaElectric.com/PayAssist (Residential) and TampaElectric.com/BizPayAssist (Business).
Finally, I want to speak about how we aim to improve our customer experience.
At Tampa Electric we are committed to providing a positive customer experience. Unprecedented call volume in July led to higher-than-normal wait times for some customers. For those impacted, we offer our sincere apologies and are taking action to provide the timely customer service you expect from us.
Thank you for being a valued Tampa Electric customer. If you have questions or need assistance, please know that we are here to help. We look forward to our continued partnership with you.
President and Chief Executive Officer
TECO Tampa Electric