Tampa Electric seeks 22 per cent rate hike

TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA - Tampa Electric Co. formally asked state regulators today for permission to increase electric bills 22 percent beginning in January to cover the skyrocketing cost of fuel.

The utility serves 667,000 customers in Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Tampa Electric announced in July it was planning to seek a 22 percent increase in consumer fuel costs.

Under the utility's proposal, residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours a month would be paying about $140 a month starting in January, up from $114 now.

Tampa Electric underestimated its fuel costs for 2008 by $209 million, or 20 percent. The utility is asking the Florida Public Service Commission for permission to recover those costs in 2009, in addition to the $1.4 billion the utility expects to spend on fuel in 2009.

"Just as fuel is used to power cars, fuel is also used to power electric generators," said Tampa Electric President Chuck Black. "This unprecedented run-up in fuel prices has been frustrating for our entire team and truly challenging for our customers on all energy fronts."


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