FPL customer rates to decrease starting Thursday

Florida Power & Light Co. customers’ rates are decreasing starting Thursday. A typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours a month will save $3.35 a month compared to current rates, company officials said Tuesday.

The decrease is due primarily to the end of a temporary surcharge for Hurricane Matthew restoration and savings generated by the closure of a major coal plant.

The typical bill will drop from $102.72 to $99.37. Those amounts do not include franchise fees, or local taxes, which vary.

FPL’s typical customer bill will be approximately 30 percent below the latest national average when the decrease takes effect. FPL’s typical bill will be down almost $10 a month compared with rates in 2006, the company said.

“Many people assume that FPL rates have risen in recent years, but in reality, our customers are paying significantly less for power than they were a dozen years ago – and that’s a great thing for the families and businesses we serve,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.

“Our successful strategy of investing in highly efficient energy infrastructure continues to transform the power we deliver to our customers, making it cleaner and more reliable than ever before at a cost that is significantly less than what the average American pays for electricity,” Silagy said.

Businesses will also see their rates decrease beginning in March. The reduction will be roughly 2 to 4 percent for typical commercial and industrial customer monthly bills, which continue to be among the lowest in the state and nation.

FPL, headquartered in Juno Beach, announced in January that it would not increase rates to pay for the restoration effort in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Instead, FPL is using federal tax savings to avoid a surcharge for the approximately $1.3 billion cost of the hurricane, saving each of FPL’s 4.9 million customers an average of approximately $250.

The ability to leverage the federal tax savings to cover restoration costs in this way is afforded by FPL’s current base rate agreement, which was negotiated with the Office of Public Counsel and other customer groups and approved unanimously by the Florida Public Service Commission in 2016.

The agreement set parameters for base rates and storm surcharges from January 2017 through at least December 2020. In addition to avoiding a Hurricane Irma surcharge, FPL may be able to use future federal tax savings to continue operating under the rate agreement and potentially avoid a general base rate increase for customers for at least another year beyond 2020.

In January, FPL and Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) officially retired the St. John’s River Power Park, the second and largest of three coal-fired plants FPL is phasing out. The facility was jointly owned by JEA and FPL. Savings from this retirement will be reflected in customer rates beginning March 1.

Also in January, FPL completed four new solar power plants and expects to complete four more solar plants on March 1. Together FPL’s eight new solar plants use more than 2.5 million solar panels to generate enough clean energy to power thousands of homes and businesses when the sun is shining.

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