Due to increased costs and sluggish growth, Tampa Electric Co. today notified the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) that it intends to file a request to raise residential rates by about 10 percent in January 2014. Tampa Electric is seeking about $135 million, or an increase of about $11 a month – or 35 cents a day – for the average residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month. If approved as filed, the average residential bill would rise about 10 percent to about $113 a month – customers would still be paying lower bills than six years ago. That average bill would remain 5 percent below the national average, which was $118.70 in September 2012, according to the Energy Information Administration. In the past four years, Tampa Electric’s residential customer bills have dropped by more than $12. “There is never a good time to raise rates, and we empathize with our customers who are also feeling the effects of a difficult economy. The pace of the economic recovery has not been what anyone predicted,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. “We have worked diligently to keep costs low, but costs continue to outpace growth. “It is important to remember that while the cost of nearly everything has gone up in recent years, the relative cost of electricity has gone down,” Gillette said. “We are proud to offer our customers a great value – and rates that will remain among the lowest of Florida’s utilities.” Tampa Electric last requested a rate increase in 2008. Since then, we have improved reliability: For the past five years, Tampa Electric’s customers have had the fewest – and among the shortest – interruptions among Florida’s investor-owned utilities. In that time, we also have invested in projects such as a reclaimed water pipeline to serve the Polk Power Station; Big Bend solid-fuel handling equipment; and transmission expansion and improvements.
Tampa Electric will file its proposed rate increase with the PSC in April. The PSC is expected to hold hearings and to vote on the issue by the end of the year. The new rates would take effect in 2014.Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Tampa Electric serves nearly 676,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia.