ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Residents in Florida will see an spike in their energy bills starting in April.

The Florida Public Service Commission approved rate hikes for utility companies who are trying to recover costs related to hurricane preparation and increased fuel costs.

What You Need To Know

  • There will be an energy rate increase in April

  • For those already behind, the extra costs can be too much

  • Energy companies say that there are ways residents can reduce their bills

Karla Correa said it’s another blow for those struggling to make ends meet. Correa said she has fallen behind on her electric bill.

“They are saying that I have to pay a certain amount before it’s disconnected,” she said while opening a final notice from Duke Energy.

She has experienced being without power before. Her income as a substitute teacher has been further strained by inflation and she’s not the only one.

“Everyone’s like should I pay this bill this month? Should I get less food this month? With everything going up, we’re having to decide which necessities we’re gonna pay for,” she said.

Correa disagrees with the The Florida Public Service Commission’s decision.

“There’s going to be hurricanes and it should not fall on us working class people to recoup those costs, those profits,” she said.

To ease the burden for customers, the Commission is allowing utility companies to spread out the recovery of fuel costs over 21 months.

Still, Karla said she’s concerned about what this could mean for seniors and those on disability.

“People on fixed incomes, this is going to hurt them the most,” she said. “They turn people’s power off who are elderly, people who have babies. For someone like me who has had her power turned off twice in the last year just because I couldn’t pay. That was really horrible.”

In a statement to Spectrum News Duke Energy Information Officer Anna Gibbs said:

“Duke Energy Florida works hard to provide the best possible price for our customers. These steps include the previous implementation of an innovative rate mitigation plan to spread the recovery of unrecovered fuel costs over a longer period, delivering a diverse fuel mix, including solar for power generation, and managing fuel and generation resources in the most cost-effective manner for our customers. As a result of the company’s continued commitment to solar investments, Duke Energy Florida is already passing approximately $56 million of corporate tax savings annually to customers from the Inflation Reduction Act and the company is refunding customers another $11.7 million in tax savings from 2022 solar generation”.

The CEO of Tampa Electric Archie Collins issued the following statement:

“We encourage customers to use our many free programs to better manage electricity use, which can lead to lower bills. If more help is needed, we can provide information on additional options.”