Gulf Power customers to see increase

Gulf Power customers will see a 7.6 percent increase in their electricity bills starting in January, and another increase could follow in April.

Florida’s Public Service Commission on Monday set recovery charges for Gulf Power and three of the state’s five other investor-owned utilities. Gulf Power’s rate will increase from $118.88 for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used to $127.94.

Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers said the increase was because of higher prices for coal and natural gas the company is paying now compared to last year.

“This year, fuel was a big part of the recovery clause for Gulf Power,” Rogers said. “Fuel is a pass-through. We don’t make any profit off it. If it goes up, the price goes up. If it goes down like it did last year, we had the largest decrease in company history because of the way fuel went down.

“It’s almost a wash between last year and this year with the clauses,” Rogers added.

The rate hike takes effect in January.

The Public Service Commission’s decision only addressed Gulf Power’s recovery charges, which allows electric utilities to recover fuel costs and fund conservation and environmental requirements.