Business

Tampa Electric files to pass on tax savings to customers

Posted January 31, 2018 12:26 p.m. EST

TAMPA -- Tampa Electric Co. customers might not be paying any hurricane recovery costs after all. The Tampa-based utility filed with regulators late Tuesday to eliminate what would have been an extra $4 on customers' bills for storm response efforts.

The move was triggered by the savings that the utility anticipates under the new federal tax law.

"This is a great solution for our customers," CEO Nancy Tower said in a release. "Redirecting our tax savings to cover these storm costs is an opportunity for our customers to benefit from the tax law immediately."

Tampa Electric filed at the end of last year to collect $88 million from customers, which would have paid for recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma and replenished the utility's hurricane reserves, which were depleted by named storms in recent years.

Duke Energy Florida, which primarily serves Pinellas County, last week made a similar move: asking regulators to pass its newfound tax savings on to customers. If the Florida Public Service Commission approves, that would offset its December request to collect $513 million for storm recovery costs, amounting to what would have been an extra $5.20 on bills.

Tampa Electric's filing, a release said, is backed by the Office of Public Counsel and the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, which both advocate on behalf of consumers.

"Consumers are eager to see rate reductions resulting from the federal tax changes, and with this implementation agreement, look forward to lower electric bills in early 2019," J.R. Kelly, public counsel, said in a release.

Tampa Electric expects the PSC, which regulates utilities in the state, to vote on the filing March 1.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.