Florida Power & Light Co. expects fuel charges to be higher in 2014


Florida Power & Light customers’ bills will be going up in January because of an expected rise in the cost of fuel used to generate electricity, the company said Friday.

For the typical customer, who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours a month, the increase is expected to be about 5 percent, or $5.06.

To calculate your estimated bill for 2014, go to www.FPL.com/rates.

The company released its estimate for customer bills on Friday in conjunction with its filing of fuel cost projections with state regulators. Utilities are not allowed to make a profit on fuel.

“As a result of our investments in efficiency, we are keeping customer bills lower than they were a few years ago,” said FPL President Eric Silagy, “and far lower than the state and national averages – without sacrificing service or reliability.”

At about $100, FPL’s total typical customer bill in 2014 is expected to be lower than any other current 1,000-kilowatt hour residential bill in Florida and lower than the state and national averages, which are $124 to $126.

In 2013, FPL’s fuel charge reached the lowest level in a decade. Although the 1,000-kilowatt hour fuel charge in 2014 will be higher than this year, FPL said it will still be lower than at any time between 2003 and 2012.

Fuel costs have been coming down in recent years because of lower natural gas prices and more efficient power plants.

During its rate case in 2012, FPL officials said lower fuel costs would offset higher base rates. In December, the company was granted a $350 million — or 8 percent — base rate increase that took effect in January.

Customers’ base rates increased in May after the $970 million modernized Cape Canaveral plant was powered up. The 1,000 kilowatt hour customer’s base rate increased by $1.72 to reflect the $165.5 million customers will pay this year for the plant.

Base rates will also rise in mid-2014 when the new Riviera Beach plant goes into service and in 2016 when the new Port Everglades plant comes online.

FPL is in the midst of a multi-year customer funded capital investment program focused on phasing out older, oil-fired units and replacing them with fuel-efficient energy centers that run on domestic natural gas. Increasing the fuel efficiency of its power plants has saved customers more than $6 billion since 2001 by generating more power with less fuel, FPL said.

FPL is providing estimates now, but rates will not be finalized until after state regulators review them.



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