FPL customers could see smaller bills

Published on April 3, 2023 at 3:40 pm

State regulators Tuesday could approve a proposal that would reduce bills for customers of Florida Power & Light Co. because of lower-than-expected natural gas prices.

The proposal, which will go before the Public Service Commission, would partly offset rate increases that took effect in April.

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The utility serves portions of Baker, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. johns counties in Northeast Florida.

Utilities use natural gas to power many power plants. The companies are generally allowed to pass along projected fuel costs to customers.

After soaring natural gas costs last year, FPL filed a petition March 1 that said natural gas prices are expected to be lower this year than previously projected. As a result, the commission’s staff has recommended that regulators approve FPL’s proposal to reduce amounts collected from customers by $379 million during the rest of 2023. FPL also says the lower gas prices will save about $115 million in 2024.

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In addressing rates, utilities rely on a benchmark of residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month. Because of a merger with the former Gulf Power in Northwest Florida, FPL has two sets of rates.

If the proposal is approved Tuesday, customers who are in areas traditionally served by FPL and use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity would see their monthly bills decrease from $144.38 to $139.95, according to the commission staff recommendation.

Customers in Northwest Florida who use 1,000 kilowatt hours would see their bills decrease from $163.30 to $158.86. Rates for FPL and other utilities increased in April because of a combination of factors, including hurricane-related expenses and last year’s high natural-gas prices.

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