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Tampa Electric customers could see a series of rate hikes over the next three years

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TECO sent a letter to the chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission, asking to raise profits through a series of rate increase that would increase revenues by a total of more than $1.1 billion over the next three years.

Tampa Electric customers could see rate hikes starting in 2025.

This comes after TECO just decreased electricity bills by 11% in January due to lower fossil fuels costs.

Archie Collins, the company’s president and chief executive officer, sent a letter of intent Thursday to the chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission, asking to raise profits through a series of rate increases that would increase revenues by a total more than $1.1 billion over the next three years.

Tampa Electric is seeking an initial increase of between $290 million dollars and $320 million in 2025. In 2026, the utility wants to raise rates by another $100 million. And in 2027, a third increase of $70 million would be added. Over three years, the total revenue raised from the rate increases would be between $1.14 billion and $1.23 billion.

Brooke Ward, with Food and Water Watch and the Hillsborough Rate Hikes Coalition, said the last time the company requested a similar increase, the average residential energy bill rose by $60 per month from 2021 to 2023.

"The current energy burden in Hillsborough County is above the national average, with some people paying 12% of their income on their current energy bills," she said. "It's unconscionable, especially because there are cost cutting measures that could be taken."

Ward said one of those measures is moving away from using “dirty,” costly fossil fuels.

In an email, a spokesperson for Tampa Electric said part of the increase would pay for "investing in more solar energy.”

But Ward has a different take on what the letter says.

"They are going to continue to invest in fossil fuels ... that they're still trying to make excuses for why the bills are going up so much at a time when we are in an energy crisis," she said.

TECO has said this move is meant to meet growth demands, to prepare for extreme weather, and to focus on long-term affordability.

“We know there’s never a good time to raise rates, and we feel for customers who are facing hardships,” a TECO spokesperson said.

The official proposal with more details is expected to be filed April 2nd.

Corrected: February 6, 2024 at 8:47 AM EST
TECO's requested rate increase would add up to about $460 million over the next three years. A previous version of this story said otherwise.
My main role for WUSF is to report on climate change and the environment, while taking part in NPR’s High-Impact Climate Change Team. I’m also a participant of the Florida Climate Change Reporting Network.