Bad news for Florida Power & Light customers: Your bill is going up.
Starting in January, FPL’s residential customers will see the change as part of a new four-year, record-breaking $1.53 billion rate increase approved this week by Florida’s utility regulators.
The Florida Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the state including electricity, telecommunications and water, unanimously voted to accept the increase, cementing a settlement agreement FPL reached in August with several consumer groups.
Opponents of the decision say it violates Florida law and are considering appealing it to the Florida Supreme Court.
But, for now, here’s what the increase means for you:
How much will my bill go up and when will it happen?
FPL is the only provider that services most of Florida’s east coast, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It also serves other portions of the state.
And starting in January 2022, FPL residential customers will start getting a higher monthly bill, with additional increases expected over the next four years.
The company estimates that a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see these monthly increases:
▪ 2022: $12.15
▪ 2023: Another $1.67
▪ 2024: Another 53 cents
▪ 2025: Another 97 cents
This means your bill will be $15.32 more by 2026 than it is now.
However, not every customer will see this type of price increase.
People in Northwest Florida who were residential customers of Gulf Power, which merged with FPL in January, will see an estimated monthly increase of $8.25 in 2022. Then in 2025, their bill will become cheaper, costing less than it does today due to the settlement agreement, FPL says.
Example: If residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month have a bill of $129.24 in 2021, the company estimates they’ll be paying $126.47 by the end of 2025. That’s $2.77 less than what it costs now.
These estimates include Florida’s gross receipt tax and excludes credits, fees or local taxes that may be added depending on where the customer lives.
Why is my FPL bill going up?
FPL says the new rates will help support its long-term investments in infrastructure, clean energy and innovative technology, including what it says is the “largest solar build out in the United States,” with 16 million solar panels spread across 50 new sites.
Residential customers will also be subsidizing a $1 billion decrease in costs for the state’s largest commercial and industrial businesses, as well as subsidizing customers who sign up for FPL’s solar expansion, as the Miami Herald has reported.
FPL says that even with the rate increase, it still expects residential customers to have a bill that is “well below the national average through 2025.”
What can I do to reduce my bill?
The website has several options, but one of the most useful tabs to click is “Get Help, Give Help.” This is where you can request a temporary extension to pay your bill and find information about financial assistance programs for FPL customers who need help paying their electric bills. Keep in mind that each program has different requirements and not everyone who applies for assistance will qualify.
You can also find tips and tools to help lower your electricity bill.
Some of the tips:
▪ Cooling your home at 78 degrees or higher with the thermostat fan switched to auto. And when you’re not home, raise your thermostat to 82 or higher.
▪ Use LED lightbulbs, which FPL says can save you about $70 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.
▪ Keep the lint trap of your dryer clean to make the clothes dry faster.
▪ Replace your showerhead with a water-efficient showerhead. (TIP: Look for a showerhead that has a WaterSense label. This means it meets the EPA’s specifications for water efficiency.) FPL says this could save a family of two up to $80 a year.
Miami Herald Capitol bureau chief Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report from Tallahassee.