Tallahassee, Florida – Florida residents have been grappling with high electric bills due to increased natural gas costs over the past year. However, 2024 brings a ray of hope as major utilities in the state announce plans to reduce customer bills. This anticipated change is particularly significant for customers of Tampa Electric and Duke Energy Florida.
Electric bills in Florida comprise various components, including base rates, environmental costs, storm-related expenses, and crucially, power-plant fuel costs. The state’s heavy reliance on natural gas for fueling power plants became a key factor in the increase in electric bills in 2023. High gas prices in 2022 significantly contributed to this uptrend.
Fortunately, the scenario is changing. Gas prices have begun to subside, enabling utilities to reduce the amount required from customers in the coming year. Archie Collins, President and CEO of Tampa Electric, expressed relief at this development, especially following a summer of record-breaking electricity usage.
It’s not just fuel costs that impact utility bills. For instance, Duke Energy Florida faced substantial restoration expenses due to Hurricane Idalia, amounting to an estimated $91.9 million. The Florida Public Service Commission recently approved Duke’s request to collect these costs in 2024. To mitigate the impact on customers, Duke plans to spread out the costs associated with previous storms like Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
This strategic spreading of costs over a more extended period will effectively reduce the monthly burden on consumers. Duke Energy Florida State President Melissa Seixas stated, “By combining Hurricane Idalia costs with the remaining balance of prior storms and previously filed bill reductions like lower fuel costs, we are able to provide some much-needed bill relief to our customers.”
What Customers Can Expect in 2024
For a clearer picture, let’s look at the expected rates for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month in 2024, as provided by the utilities:
- Tampa Electric’s customers will see their bills drop from $161.13 to $143.48 in January.
- Duke Energy Florida’s customers will pay $171.71, down from the current $183.
- Florida Power & Light (FPL), after its merger with Gulf Power, has two different rate sets. In the former Gulf Power region, bills will decrease from $154.91 to $149.70 in January and further to $143.06 in April after storm-related charges end. Other FPL customers will see their bills reduce from $136 to $135.51 in January and to $128.86 in April due to the same reason.
This reduction in bills is a welcome change, especially after a year of high costs.