Tampa Electric customers will see lower bills in January because of lower costs for natural gas – the fifth consecutive reduction in fuel costs in the past four years.
The Florida Public Service Commission yesterday approved the company’s request as filed.
Beginning in January, a residential customer’s monthly bill will drop by $4.32, to $102.58 for 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), a 4 percent drop from the current $106.90 a month. Commercial customers will see bills drop by nearly 5 percent; industrial customers will remain flat.
This reduction will bring Tampa Electric residential customers’ bills to about 14 percent below the national average – which is $119 per month, according to May 2012 data from the Energy Information Administration.
“Tampa Electric continues to have one of the lowest rates in Florida,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. “We are pleased to provide low, stable bills – consistently below the national average – while providing outstanding value to our customers.”
Due to lower actual and projected fuel costs, the company estimates that by the end of 2012 it will spend $69 million less on fuel than originally projected. The decrease in the fuel portion of the bill is based on lower costs for natural gas during the last six months of 2011 and the first six months of 2012, projections for the remainder of 2012 and expected fuel prices in 2013.
Tampa Electric’s fuel mix is predominantly comprised of coal and natural gas. The cost of fuel is a substantial portion of an electric bill, currently almost 40 percent for residential customers. Tampa Electric makes no profit from the cost of fuel.
Although the company cannot control the price of fuel, Tampa Electric said it works to use the best mix of fuels in its existing low-cost, well-performing plants and wholesale power purchased from other companies to control costs and to pass the savings from these efforts to customers.