Duke Gets Backing to Collect Hurricane Costs

Posted By: Garnie Holmes Industry ,

By NSF Staff

Duke Energy Florida should get approval to collect $171.3 million from customers to cover costs related to last year’s Hurricane Dorian, staff members of the Florida Public Service Commission have recommended. The commission is slated during a Feb. 4 meeting to take up Duke’s request to collect the money. The Category 5 Dorian, which devastated parts of the Bahamas, did not make landfall in Florida.

But Duke said in a December filing that it mobilized 7,800 employees and contractors to be able to restore power if the hurricane barreled into the state, as had been initially predicted. Regulators in the past have regularly allowed utilities to recoup storm costs from customers, and the issue is addressed in a 2017 rate agreement reached by Duke. The utility would begin collecting the money from customers in March, with the extra charges lasting for a year. Duke’s costs from Dorian will be analyzed, and customers could receive refunds in the future if it is ultimately determined that the costs were below $171.3 million.

Under the proposal, residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see monthly bills increase $5.34, according to Duke and the PSC staff recommendation issued last week. Commercial and industrial customers would see increases between 2.6 percent and 7.7 percent. Utilities commonly use 1,000 kilowatt hours for residential customers as a benchmark, though actual electricity use varies widely. Duke has about 1.8 million customers in the state, including in the Tampa Bay region, Central Florida and North Florida.

Article reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida.