Tampa Electric to seek 18% rate hike to pay for solar

Tampa Electric Co. will ask regulators for a rate increase. Pictured is the company's Tampa headquarters. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times ]
Tampa Electric Co. will ask regulators for a rate increase. Pictured is the company’s Tampa headquarters. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times ]
Published Feb. 2

Tampa Electric Co. plans to ask regulators for a rate increase to cover new solar projects.

In a notice to regulators this week, the Hillsborough County power company said it will ask for permission to charge customers between $280 and $295 million starting in 2022. If approved, customers’ rates will increase to an estimated $124.30 per 1,000-kilowatt hours, up 18 percent from this year.

“We are proud of the cleaner, greener company we’re becoming,” said Nancy Tower, CEO of Tampa Electric. “We know that the investments we are planning are necessary to deliver additional benefits over time.”

Tampa Electric is currently on track to generate 14 percent of its power from solar over the next two years, the highest percentage of any of the state’s investor-owned power companies. Tampa Electric is building more than 1,200 megawatts of solar power by 2023, which will provide enough energy to power 200,000 homes.

Because the utility is adding more solar energy to its mix, the increased cost will be partially offset by the reduced amount of fuel the company would need if it built the same amount of energy capacity using a source such as natural gas.

“To continue delivering the value our customers deserve, we must plan for the long term, making investments now that create a better energy future,” Tower said.

In addition to building out its solar capacity, Tampa Electric is working on grid fortification to help its system better withstand both storms and cyberattacks.

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