LawFuel.com – US Legal News
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum and Florida’s Public Counsel J.R Kelly today issued a consumer advisory on upcoming hearings to be held by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on a proposed $500 million annual rate increase by Progress Energy of Florida. Nine hearings, held so customers can share their concerns and opinions about the proposed increase, are scheduled to begin next week and will be located throughout the Progress Energy service area.
“This proposed rate increase is concerning and will be difficult for utilities customers to bear,” said Attorney General McCollum, whose office has intervened before the PSC in the rate increase hearings. “Given the tough economic climate for power companies, these requests must be carefully weighed considering the costs for consumers.”
The Attorney General’s Office will be represented at the meeting, as will the Public Counsel. Representatives from the Florida Retail Federation, Florida Industrial Power Users Group and AARP are also expected to attend the hearings to hear the concerns of Floridians to voice their opposition to the increase.
“Progress Energy wants a 12.54 percent profit, at a time when the economy is suffering, unemployment is high and most folks are just trying to keep their head above water,” said Kelly, who represents Florida consumers in utilities cases before the PSC. “We do not believe an increase of $500 million is warranted.”
In March, Progress Energy of Florida filed an application with the PSC requesting approval to increase basic rates by $500 million annually. For a residential customer using 1,000 Kilowatt hours per month – and most customers use more – the proposed rate hike will result in an increase of
$13.83 per month, or 31.5 percent above the present rates. This proposed increase of $500 million is in addition to the company’s $446 million rate increase request associated with its nuclear plant construction. Progress Energy also proposes to increase its profit from an existing 9.16 percent return on investment up to 12.54 percent.
These hearings will be the only opportunities for customers to personally address the PSC about Progress Energy service and the proposed rate increases. Both the Attorney General and Kelly urged customers to attend the hearings to voice their concerns and opinions. A full list of the hearing dates, times and locations is available online at: