Gulf Power has reached a settlement that will increase its base rates for the next two years.
The Florida Public Service Commission voted Tuesday and approved a settlement between Gulf Power and a mixture of business groups and government agencies that will result in a rate hike beginning in January of 2014. The utility had proposed a rate hike of just over $74 million for next year and another 16 and change for 2015. The settlement which was filed last Friday calls for a hike of $35 million for 2014 and an additional $20 million in 2015.
At the commission meeting leaders representing both the utility company and its customers made their cases. Jeffery Stone is a lawyer for Gulf Power. He spoke before the commission in favor of the settlement.
Gulf Power's customers were represented by the Florida Office of Public Council.
One of the largest users of power in the Pensacola area is the Naval Air Station. Major Chris Thompson of from the Federal Executive Agencies represented the military at the hearing. He had praise for the settlement and the people responsible for hammering it out.
The $35 million rate hike will add about four dollars to the average residential electric bill. The $20 million hike in 2015 will add an additional 2-50. Florida Public Council J.R. Kelly thinks it's a good deal for rate payers.
The rate hike will allow Gulf Power to continue modifying and upgrading their electric transmission infrastructure. Rogers also said one of the provisions of the agreement is that Gulf Power's base rates cannot increase before July of 2017.