Duke Energy customers to see slight drop in energy costs

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Electricity costs will drop slightly for  Duke Energy Florida customers in 2015, after the state’s Public Service Commission approved changes to monthly bills.

Residential Duke customers using 1,000-kilowatt hours of electricity each month will pay only $125.13 in January, a 16-cent drop from the current $125.29, according to the PSC.

On Tuesday, commissioners finalized charges for expenses such as power-plant fuel, a significant part of Duke’s electricity costs.

Both regulators and utilities commonly use the 1,000-kilowatt hour benchmark for calculating rates, though many customers use larger amounts of electricity every month.

At the same time, Duke presented regulators with a projected $1.18 billion price tag for dismantling of the Crystal River nuclear plant, shuttered earlier than expected due to damage to a containment building.

Duke had previously been required to set aside money in a trust for decommissioning the plant, which estimates say could take as much as 40 to 60 years.

The Crystal River plant shut down permanently in 2013, after not producing electricity since 2009.

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.