October 13, 2008
Progress Energy Florida Lowers 2009 Fuel Projections, Proposes Reduced Rate Increase for Customers
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Progress Energy Florida today filed revised 2009 fuel projections with the Florida Public Service Commission. The revisions to the company's original filing will reduce the previously projected increases to a residential customer bill by $7.21 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh). The change is due to the drop in natural gas and oil prices and Progress Energy's proactive fuel cost-management strategies.
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"We can't control the cost of fuel. What we can do is work every day to ensure we negotiate for the best possible price for the fuel. When we capture value, as we've been able to do since our last filing in August, we pass that on to our customers," said Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida. "This filing update ensures that the Public Service Commission has the most current information available as they calculate rates for 2009."
With the update filed today, the residential monthly bill for 1,000 kWh would increase $27.29 over current charges of $110.59 to $137.88 starting in January, if approved by the Public Service Commission. This represents a 25 percent increase over 2008; adjusted down from the previously proposed 31 percent increase. Commercial and industrial customers can expect a similar impact.
"This time, fuel prices changed in our favor, which is not always the case," said Lyash. "Ultimately, we hope to reduce rate volatility for our customers by investing in carbon-free nuclear power. This will increase fuel diversity and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. When our new nuclear reactors are in service, they will generate an estimated fuel savings of more than $1 billion annually for our customers."
The updated 2009 proposed monthly rate of $137.88 includes increases from 2008 of $14.09 for projected fuel costs (including under-recovered amounts from this year); $11.42 for new nuclear-plant construction in Levy County; and $2.50 for environmental projects, including the installation of the latest clean-air technology at the company's coal-fired power plants.
The company filed its original 2009 projections for fuel and other expenses with the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) on August 29. The FPSC held hearings in September to review the construction costs for the new nuclear plants in Levy County and the power uprate at the Crystal River nuclear facility and is expected to make a ruling on those costs on October 14. The FPSC will hold separate hearings November 4-6 to review the company's projected fuel, environmental and energy-efficiency expenses. Progress Energy expects to make additional minor adjustments related to environmental and capacity cost recovery that may further reduce electricity price projections for 2009.
Progress Energy offers several programs designed to assist customers. Programs include:
Energy Neighbor Fund: Customers who need assistance paying their electric bills can receive help through the Energy Neighbor Fund. All funds collected from participating customers and employees are distributed locally through social service agencies to neighbors in need. The Progress Energy Foundation doubled its annual matching contribution to the Energy Neighbor Fund this year to $1 million to help the company's low-income customers with their energy bills. The program began in 1988 and has provided more than $8 million in assistance to families in crisis. For more information, visit http://www.progress-energy.com/ or call 800.700.8744.
Budget Billing: Customers on fixed incomes or others who need a bill that is a consistent amount are encouraged to take advantage of Budget Billing. The program is free and helps customers forecast monthly energy costs and better plan their finances. Customers pay an average amount that is approximately the same each month. The difference between the budget billing amount and the actual amount also appears on the bill.
Home Energy Checks: Progress Energy Florida offers a free home-energy inspection that surveys household insulation, duct work, water heating, cooling and heating systems and overall efficiency. Customers can complete a home-energy check online, or by mail, phone or through a visit by a company representative. For more details, visit http://www.savethewatts.com/ or call 888.302.8348.
Caution regarding forward-looking statements
This release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Progress Energy, Inc. cautions that prospective rates are dependent on a number of factors that are not within the control of the company. These factors include the cost of fuel, adverse weather, energy demand, the costs to comply with environmental and other regulations, taxes and other factors. Additionally, regulatory approval of requested fuel price cost adjustments cannot be guaranteed by the company. The company expressly disclaims any duty to update any of the forward-looking information.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy , provides electricity and related services to nearly 1.7 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit http://www.progress-energy.com/.
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Progress Energy Florida
CONTACT: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line, +1-866-520-6397
Web site: http://www.progress-energy.com/http://www.savethewatts.com/