TECO files for rate increase
TAMPA - Businesses that use electricity in the Tampa Electric Co. service area could see their rates go up about 6 percent beginning next year. The area’s dominant power provider officially filed for a rate increase with the state’s Public Service Commission. The increase would impact both residents and businesses. Tampa Electric officials had disclosed in February that they hope to raise rates on residential customers by about 10 percent, which could add $10.41 a month to an average household that uses 1000 kilowatts of electricity per month. The utility said it needs the increase because of higher operating costs, including installation of 170 miles of new power lines, coupled with less power consumption by customers.Consumer advocates, including Florida’s Office of Public Counsel, plan to contest the rate request. Tampa Electric serves more than 677,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, with a population estimated at more than 1 million. Its West Central Florida service area includes all of Hillsborough County, as well as parts of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties. The PSC is expected to hold hearings about the request later this year, and vote on the issue by the end of the year. The new rates would take effect in 2014.