FPL Increases their Rates
January 28, 2016
Just as electricity rates dropped to nearly $5 a month,the lowest that the Florida Power and Light (FPL) rates have been in five years, FPL announced that a new funding plan set to begin in 2017 will increase the base rate for their millions of customers.Before announcing their new plan FPL boasted about their rates going down by creating several commercials advertising that bills are now 30% below the national average.
“It’s not right that [FPL] promised their customers lower bills and later say they have a plan to raise their prices, it just makes customers trust [FPL] less,” senior Christopher Corea said.
In the first year of their four year plan, rates will increase by $8.50 and then rise to $14 by 2020 for a typical consumer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours.
The increased rates will go towards the $16 billion that FPL has invested into the company since 2014. Some of these investments were made to improve the company’s service, with a better system to withstand strong weather conditions that could affect their system. The company will also use $1.3 billion for a natural-gas fired power plant in Okeechobee County.
Before FPL customers begin to worry about the increased prices, the project needs approval from the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) and other committees, such as the Florida Power Users Association and the Office of Public Counsel, who will all review the plan before letting it go in effect.
“FPL is a monopoly therefore they can’t just arbitrarily raise the rates,” economics teacher Armando Gonzalez said, “mainly the people who have fixed incomes are going to be hurt the most and people who are on the poverty line,” Gonzalez said.
On the other hand, the PSC approved the $1.3 billion plan for the natural-gas fired power plant on January 5th, but the plan still needs approval from Florida governor Rick Scott and his cabinet members.
Although FPL’s plan includes increasing base rates, bills will still be lower than they were in ten years ago; however, if the new plan is approved, it would be the company’s largest rate increase. FPL’s plan will be filed in March and the final decision will be made in November, with public hearings in between.