Duke Energy Florida (DEF) is seeking approval from state regulators to approve a settlement that would lead to nearly $200 million in rate increases over three years, meaning consumers could see higher electricity bills in 2022. If approved, Duke says the settlement would help avoid a protracted and expensive legal battle over the base rates that factor into utility bills.
Duke, which serves more than 1.8 million customers in Florida, filed the proposal Thursday at the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) that would be phased in over the next three years after its current base rates expire at the end of 2021.
The agreement is subject to approval by the FPSC and is part of the company’s vision for the state, which includes retiring coal plants and promoting cleaner energy. The plan also includes investments to modernize the electric grid and improve electric vehicle infrastructure.
“This agreement provides a path to minimize bill increases while continuing to make smart investments that will offer customers greater reliability, cleaner energy alternatives and innovative technology,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president. “During these challenging times, it also provides rate certainty and clarity for Florida customers and communities regarding future adjustments.”
Duke’s new direction would also provide a new optional residential “Time-of-Use” rate, reduce hurricane cost recovery impacts to customers, remove residential credit card fees for bill payments and include accelerated retirement dates for DEF’s last two coal units eight years ahead of schedule, from 2042 to 2034, in support of the company’s carbon reduction goals.
The agreement, which came to fruition after lengthy negotiations between DEF and the state’s Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers and industrial power users. It will take effect in January 2022.
If approved, the electric company’s base rates will increase by $67.2 million in 2022, and by another $48.9 million in 2023 and another $79.2 million in 2024, for a cumulative rate increase of $195.4 million.
For the average consumer, those increases translate to a 3 percent to 4 percent bill increase in the first year, while all customers will see an annual bill increase of approximately 1 percent to 2 percent in 2023 and 2024.
To view the full agreement, click here.