FPL to cut electric rates in January, will be lowest in Florida

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Florida Power & Light Co., the state’s largest utility, will be lowering the average electric bill for South Florida households by about $2 per month next year.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that on Wednesday, the Florida Public Service Commission approved a proposal by Florida Power & Light Co. to lower rates.

Starting January, the typical 1,000 kilowatt-hour household bill will drop by $1.83 to $99.68 per month.

“While so many other essential products and services are rising in price, the cost of electric service for FPL customers is going down,” said FPL president and CEO Eric Silagy in a statement.

The reduction, which makes the company’s rates the lowest in Florida, comes from a shift from oil to natural gas, a cheaper and cleaner alternative, to fuel power plants.

FPL’s rates will become about 25 percent lower than the national average, about 7 percent less than the 2009 rates, before its switch to natural gas.

Rates for FPL’s business customers will also dip by about 1 percent in 2015, subject to rate class and type of service, the company told the Sentinel.

One such client is Bill Watson, a restaurateur with Rocco’s Tacos and City Cellar, who says the rate drop helps his investment.

“Looking back over the past five years, my businesses are using about 8 percent more energy, Watson said in a release, “but my FPL bills are actually down nearly 11 percent.”

FPL invested billions of dollars replacing older plants with ones using efficient, cleaner fuels. The Juno Beach-based company plans a $1.2 billion natural gas-fuel plant in Port Everglades, to open sometime in mid-2016. That plant will consume one-third of the fuel, producing 90 percent less emissions than the one it replaces.

FPL consumers can estimate their 2015 electric rates at fpl.com/lowerbills.

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.