ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Duke Energy Florida reported that that customers will directly benefit from the new federal tax law and avoid a rate increase for power restoration costs associated with the company's response to last September's Hurricane Irma.
Instead of increasing customer rates, the company says they plan to apply federal tax reform savings towards those storm costs.
On December 28th, the company had filed for recovery of $513 million -- $281 million for power restoration costs and another $132 million to replenish the storm reserve fund. Residential customers would have seen an increase of $5.20 per 1,000 kWh of electricity on a typical monthly bill over a three-year recovery period -- an average of $187.20. Commercial and industrial customers were expected to see an increase of approximately 2.5 to 6.6 percent, though bills would have varied.
But, like many companies, Duke Energy said that they have been working to analyze the benefits of tax reform.
“We are pleased that this solution will prevent a rate increase for our customers,” said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Hurricane Irma was the worst storm to ever hit Duke Energy Florida and impacted many lives. Redirecting the tax reform savings against the storm costs ensures that our customers will reap the benefits of this new law.”
The Office of Public Counsel and consumer advocate groups support the change. The Florida Public Service Commission will review the costs to be recovered and the level of the tax benefit and approve the change by year-end.