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    FPL power bills could increase by 10% in April

    January 27, 2023 - Hannah Morse


      Florida Power & Light wants to raise monthly bills by just over 10% for much of its residential customer base to recover money spent on storms and natural gas last year.

      The state's largest electric utility is asking state regulators to let it charge customers, based on 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy use, $142.88 starting in April, which is $13.29 more than would be charged in February and March.

      Residential customer bills are already set to go up by roughly $5 after January after a one-month refund from the federal Inflation Reduction Act ends.

      For customers in Northwest Florida, who are within the former Gulf Power territory following last year's merger with FPL could be charged $173.09 for 1,000 kWh of electricity usage. That would be up from $159.79 in February and March.

      There are three different factors within this proposed bill hike. The utility is seeking to recover $2.1 billion that it hadn't projected to spend on natural gas in 2022 to fuel its electric power plants, as well as $1.3 billion used to restore power across much of Florida after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

      The additional costs for fuel will be recovered through customer bills over 21 months, and over 12 months for the storms.

      FPL is reconfiguring how much it plans to spend on natural gas in 2023 based on new price projections. Now the utility plans to spend $1 billion less, a decrease that would be taken into account over a nine-month period.

      Monthly fuel costs on a 1,000-kWh bill would decrease by 89 cents between March and April, and storm costs would increase by $13.84.

      FPL, in a news release, credited its investments in storm hardening for faster and less costly restorations. As of 2019, FPL and other utilities can charge customers for storm hardening projects.

      Although faced with a volatile natural gas market, FPL also lauded its transition away from oil and focus on more fuel efficient power plants that reduced carbon emissions and costs. The utility plans to also add 16 solar power plants to its fleet this year.

      Hannah Morse covers consumer issues for The Palm Beach Post. Drop a line at hmorse@pbpost.com, call 561-820-4833 or follow her on Twitter @mannahhorse.


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