Gulf Power is completing its transition to Florida Power & Light (FPL) starting after the calendar flips next month.
The hundreds of thousands of Gulf Power customers in Northwest Florida will shift to FPL beginning Saturday.
FPL and NextEra Energy, FPL’s parent company, purchased Gulf Power in 2019 and got first round approvals for the merger between from the federal government last January.
However, the merged companies still operated as two different companies with different sets of rates and websites for payment, said Gulf Power spokesperson Sarah Gatewood. Approval for the company’s joint rate request from the Public Service Commission in October is allowing the two companies to fully complete the merger.
The shift will come with rate increases for Gulf Power customers in the short term, Gatewood said.
This month, the typical Gulf Power 1,000-kWh residential customer bill was $139.89, she said. In January, that same bill for FPL customers formally under Gulf Power will be $155.61.
Gatewood said the rate increases are in part due to the base rates decided in the joint rate request, but they are also related to increases in the price of natural gas used in FPL plants.
“We’re seeing increased prices across the country for so many other things. We’re not immune to that,” she said.
However, FPL does not project those increases to be long-term. According to an FPL release in October, the company estimates the typical 1,000-kWh monthly bill for Northwest Florida customers to be $126.47, below current rates.
Aside from the price changes, the merger will also combine Gulf Power’s website and digital resources with FPL.
GulfPower.com no longer will be available beginning the evening of Dec. 30. There will be a transitionary period until Jan. 3, where former Gulf Power customers will be able to pay their bills on FPL.com using their Gulf Power log-in.
Gatewood said the company will not be shutting off people’s utilities for lack of payment during the time payment sources are down during the transition. Customers that have signed up for automatic payments or payments through their bank will not have to reset such services after the IT merger, she added.
“We’re doing everything we can to make this as seamless as possible for customers,” Gatewood said. “Other than our name changing, hopefully our customers will not feel that change too much. It’s the same people answering the phone and out restoring power.”