Regulators set to decide on utility bill cuts

The Florida Public Service Commission has scheduled a special meeting April 28 to consider requests by four major utilities to cut customer bills in May or during the summer.

Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric Co. have filed plans to pass along savings from lower-than-expected fuel costs to customers.

Pointing to economic problems facing customers because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, FPL, Duke and Gulf have proposed providing large one-time savings on May utility bills. Tampa Electric’s proposal is somewhat different. It would pass along chunks of the fuel-cost savings to customers from June through August and then smaller savings through the rest of the year.

Utilities are required to pass along savings to customers when power-plant fuel costs drop, but the money typically goes to customers gradually. The current savings primarily stem from low costs for natural gas, which all of the utilities use to fuel power plants.

The Public Service Commission needs to sign off on the proposals before they can move forward.