The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved a settlement agreement developed by Gulf Power and the Office of Public Counsel and other interested parties regarding the energy provider’s petition to increase base rates.
Also signing and supporting the settlement agreement is Florida Industrial Power Users Group and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). The request will allow Gulf Power to continue to invest in the reliability of the power grid and maintain a balanced energy mix, including 24/7 energy sources as well as renewables like wind and solar.
A balanced energy mix ensures customers have energy whenever they need it and helps keep prices lower.
The Commission applauded all parties to the rate review proceeding for working together for a constructive outcome that benefited Gulf Power customers. Commissioner Julie Brown also praised Gulf Power’s pilot program to provide customers with charging stations for electric vehicles, an innovative move the Commission said would support a vital emerging industry.
“This agreement is good for all involved, including Gulf Power’s customers,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power Chairman, President & CEO. “It supports our current infrastructure investment — which helps us continue to provide our customers in Northwest Florida with long-term, reliable power and a balanced energy mix.”
The residential bill for an average customer is currently $144. Although the design of all rates necessary to implement the settlement agreement have not yet been finalized, it is estimated that the impact to the average residential customer bill will be about $7, or about 5 percent for an estimated $151 based on FPSC approval. This new amount would be less than the average residential customer paid in 2015. The FPSC will approve final rates by May 31 and new rates will go into effect July 1, 2017.
Connally cited the need to continue to invest in the reliability of the grid to ensure a secure energy future.
“We must always have the electricity available when and where our customers want it and need it,” Connally said. “These investments are necessary to meet the expectations of our customers now, and for future generations to come.”