July 8, 2008

PSC to Rule on Power Rate Hike

By Daniel Carson, The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.

Jul. 8--PANAMA CITY -- Gulf Power Co. expects the Florida Public Service Commission to rule on its requested 11.3-percent rate increase July 29, when the PSC meets in an agenda conference, a utility spokeswoman said Monday.

"We think that what we asked for is what we'll get," Gulf Power spokeswoman Lynn Erickson said, pointing out that the PSC agreed to adjust fuel charges last week for Florida Power and Light Company and Progress Energy Florida based on the same formula Gulf Power is proposing for its rate adjustment.

In June, Gulf Power announced it would request the rate increase to offset rising fuel costs that have contributed to a $76 million revenue shortfall.

The increase would raise the cost of 1,000 kilowatt hours from $102.22 to $113.76 for Gulf Power residential customers.

Gulf Power is asking the PSC to spreadtheincreaseoutovera16-month period through the end of 2009, rather than just the last four months of 2008.

John Hutchinson, Gulf Power's public affairs general manager, said in June that the increase, if approved by the PSC, would show up on customers' bills starting Sept. 1.

Erickson said Gulf Power still expects that timetable to remain the same if the PSC approves the utility's request.

Normally, the PSC adjusts electricity prices in January of each year for fuel price fluctuations.

Gulf Power and the other utilities askedformid-yearadjustmentsthisyear becauseofrapidlyrisingcoalandnatural gas prices.


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