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Corona Economics

TECO plans to pass $130M in fuel savings to customers to help offset coronavirus losses

Customers can expect to save about $90 June-December.

Tampa Electric Company, or TECO, is seeking to accelerate savings for customers to help mitigate financial hardship associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The company is leveraging lower natural gas prices to pass significant savings to customers’s bills beginning in June.

Residents can expect to save nearly $90, or about 11%, on their energy bills for the rest of the year, depending on household consumptions. Commercial customers could see 14-20% savings.

“Unique times call for unique solutions to help our customers,” said Nancy Tower, president and CEO of Tampa Electric. “We look forward to working with the PSC, the Office of Public Counsel and other stakeholders to provide economic relief to our customers at a time when they need it most.”

The company filed updated projected fuel costs with the Florida Public Service Commission Thursday and made a request to accelerate the refund. Specific impact to customers’ bills won’t be determined until the PSC votes on the proposal on May 5. It would take effect June 1 and run through Dec. 31, if approved.

TECO claims customers’ bills are already among some of the lowest in Florida and more than 20% below the national average.

Currently, customers are paying $102.19 for 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy use, an average bill.

Nationally the average is $126.90, according to Energy Information Administration data.

Utilities adjust fuel costs annually, but typically don’t do so until January. TECO is accelerating that process to try to help customers lower bills as many Floridians face lost jobs or reduced pay due to business closures related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Utilities can request a speed-up of fuel cost adjustments early when prices are expected to change significantly mid-cycle.

Natural gas prices are expected to drop significantly, prompting the company to seek an early filing. They expect to pass on a total of $130 million in savings to customers.

TECO’s 2019 fuel mix included 84% natural gas with 4% solar, 6% coal and the remaining 6% from purchased power.

Residents currently spend about a fifth of their bill on fuel costs.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. matt lusk

    March 26, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Wholesale nat gas drops from $3 to a buck sixty and teco might give customers 11% off. How sweet.

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