July 30, 2008

Rate Increase Granted for Gulf Power

By Jackson County Floridan, Marianna, Fla.

Jul. 30--The Florida Public Service Commission approved an increase in electricity prices for Gulf Power Company customers brought on by sharp rises in the cost of the fuels used to make electricity. The rate increase will also affect Florida Public Utilities customers, as FPU contracts for power through Gulf Power.

Residential bills for 1,000 kilowatt hours will be raised 11.3 percent beginning in September.

Gulf Power requested the increase, citing an approximate $76 million shortfall in fuel bills. It also requested to spread out the collection of the shortfall over a longer period of time (16 months instead of 4 months) to lessen the monthly impact on customer bills. The FPSC granted both requests.

According to a news release from Gulf Power, fuel costs make up almost half of a typical electricity bill and Gulf Power earns no profit on the fuel portion of the bill. It said that its base rate has not been increased since 2002.

The fuel used to produce electricity is mostly coal and natural gas.

The following is a time line for Florida Public Utilities rates:

Prior to October 2007 a customer's monthly bill less taxes, based on 1,000 kilowatts usage, was $70.29. In October, a correction for fuel costs resulted in a 13.5 percent increase.

An interim rate increase was established Nov. 22, 2007,added 1.8 percent, with the bill less taxes for 1,000 kilowatts usage at $81.23.

A larger increase in electricity costs was related to the annual fuel adjustment in January of 2008. That increase was 28.6 percent, which would result in a $104.50 bill less taxes for 1,000 kilowatts usage.

FPU raise its base rate for the first time in four years in May of 2008. It added 6.3 percent to the 1,000 kilowatts usage bill less taxes, bringing the average home owner's bill to $111.13.

(Prices will vary from household to household, depending on usage and efficiency.)


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Copyright (c) 2008, Jackson County Floridan, Marianna, Fla.

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