‘It’s a challenge’: Florida Public Services Commission approves rate increase for FPL customers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A rate increase for Florida Power & Light Customers is set to go into effect after the first of the year.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

The Florida Public Services Commission, which oversees the state’s utilities, approved the rate increase Tuesday.

READ: Here’s how you can save money on your electric bill this winter

It’s part of a plan proposed by FPL to collect an additional $810 million from customers in 2022 to cover the increased cost of natural gas, one of the key fuels it uses for power.

FPL is the main service provider for Florida’s entire east coast, including Brevard County, Volusia County and parts of Seminole County.

The average family can expect to pay an additional seven dollars per month more for their electricity.

“It’s a challenge for everybody, but it’s also kind of not unexpected,” FPL customer Todd Magee said.

Magee and his family are relocating to Florida from Colorado. He says he’s ready to trade the snow for the sunshine, even if it means paying more for electricity starting next month.

READ: Holiday travel expected to near pre-pandemic travel volumes, TSA says

“Seven bucks a month doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but 20 years from now, seven bucks times how many price increases? It adds up to a lot of money, so it’s a concern.”

While Magee says he’s prepared to absorb the extra cost, for others, the added cost is an added burden.

“I’ve had some parents come in and they’ve had their power turned off and they want the power turned back on before the kids get home from school,” said Felicia Reed of the Brevard County Salvation Army.

Reed says every week, dozens of families go to them for help paying electric bills, a demand that has only increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“They find themselves out of work on medical leave. They are at their wit’s end,” Reed said. “They’ve never been through this before and it’s a blessing that we can help.”

READ: Seminole County commissioners to approve nearly $3 million to help homeless shelter

While the rate increase approved Tuesday only affects FPL customers, both Duke Energy and Tampa Electric have indicated they may seek rate increases as well.

In a statement, FPL said it does not make a profit on the cost of fuel, and that even with the rate increase, bills will still fall below the national average.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.