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FPL customers get a break on utility rates starting today

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Starting today, Florida Power & Light customers are getting a break.

As of May 1, residential consumers for the state’s largest electric utility will pay approximately $3 less on a typical bill. Business customers also get some relief, with a 3 to 6 percent decrease as the state-approved reduction in the company’s fuel charge takes effect.

This latest FPL rate decrease – the second in 2015 so far – comes from projected savings on fuel costs. Overall, FPL’s average residential customer bill is now more than 10 percent lower than in 2006, and approximately 30 percent lower than the national average.

“We’re working to keep costs down while we continue to invest in major infrastructure improvements that help us reliably deliver affordable energy from a mix of clean fuel sources, including natural gas and solar,” said FPL CEO Eric Silagy. “We take pride in providing outstanding value to the families and businesses we serve.”

Although local taxes or fees vary by municipality, FPL customers pay a base rate of around $100.12 a month for 1,000-kWh. Now that charge will drop to $97.11, saving $3.01 a month.

Businesses statewide have welcomed the new, lower FPL charges, which are among the lowest in Florida.

“Lower electric bills help ensure that Florida remains a business-friendly environment,” said Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association President Carol Dover.

Dover notes that every penny saved counts for restaurants, which are vital to the state’s $76 billion tourism industry

“The more we save on energy costs,” she said, “the more our industry can grow and deliver value for Floridians and visitors to our state.”

FPL officials note that the lower rates are part of a program that began in 2001, which includes aggressively phasing out older, less-efficient fossil fuel plants and replacing them with natural gas energy centers. The efficient facilities not only use one-third less fuel per megawatt-hour, but also are friendlier to the environment.

To date, these investments saved $7.5 billion on fuel costs and eliminated more than 85 million tons of carbon emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency equates that number to taking 16 million cars off the road every year.

FPL residential customers can calculate their individual estimated savings by entering their monthly electricity usage into the online calculator at FPL.com/lowerbills.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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