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Duke, TECO Ask To Hike Rates After Irma

Dec 29, 2017

Pointing to Hurricane Irma and other recent storms, Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Company on Thursday filed proposals to collect millions from customers.

Duke asked state regulators to approve a proposal to collect $513 million from customers to cover the costs of Hurricane Irma and replenishing a storm reserve.

Duke plans to recover the money over a three-year period, starting in March, according to a news release and a filing with the Florida Public Service Commission.

A residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see a monthly bill increase of $5.20. Commercial and industrial customers would see increases of 2.5 percent to 6.6 percent, the utility said.

TECO filed a proposal to collect about $87.4 million from customers starting in March. The money would go to covering storm damage and replenishing a reserve, with the largest chunk --- nearly $77.7 million --- stemming from this year's Hurricane Irma, according to the filing with the Florida Public Service Commission.

Tampa Electric also is seeking to collect much-smaller amounts related to hurricanes Hermine and Matthew in 2016 and tropical storms Erika in 2015 and Colin in 2016.

A residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see an increase to bills of about $4, the utility said in a news release.

Hurricane Irma made landfall Sept. 10 in Monroe and Collier counties and barreled up the state, temporarily knocking out electricity for millions of Floridians.

“This past hurricane season impacted Florida significantly, from damaging homes and infrastructure to affecting agriculture and tourism. Duke Energy Florida understands the impact this filing has on both our residential and business customers," Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president, said in a prepared statement Thursday. "We will continue making smart investments to significantly enhance service reliability throughout the year, including during storm season."