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Natural Gas Costs Could Increase TECO Bills


Pointing to higher-than-expected natural gas costs, Tampa Electric Co. on Tuesday asked state regulators to approve an increase in customer bills that would take effect in April.

The request stems from a process that involves utilities passing through power-plant fuel costs to customers. The state Public Service Commission each fall approves fuel costs that will be charged during the coming year. But utilities can seek changes if the estimates are off by more than 10 percent.

Tampa Electric on Tuesday said higher-than-expected gas costs would lead to such an “under-recovery” of money in 2019. As a result, it is seeking to increase customer bills, with the proposal translating to about a 4 percent increase for typical residential customers.

Under the proposal, residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month --- a common benchmark in the utility industry --- would see their bills go from $99.53 to $103.58 in April. The Public Service Commission could take up the issue in March.

Tampa Electric has about 750,000 customers in West Central Florida.