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TECO counters arguments its Florida rate hike is excessive

By Bruce Ritchie | 07/03/2024 06:50 AM EDT

Energy justice groups claim that utilities are misleading the public and that rates are too high.

Visitors look at manatees at the Tampa Electric Company Manatee Viewing Center.

Visitors look at manatees at the Tampa Electric Company Manatee Viewing Center on Feb. 1 in Apollo Beach, Florida. Chris O’Meara/AP

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Tampa Electric Co. defended its three-year, $469 million rate hike request pending before state regulators Tuesday, saying consumer energy groups and other opponents were using misleading information to try to scuttle the increase.

The utility agreed to only $8 million in adjustments after Public Counsel Walt Trierweiler in June challenged more than half of the request before the Public Service Commission.

TECO submitted witness testimony to the regulatory board arguing the rate hike was needed and also described claims by energy justice groups that TECO’s bills already rank among the highest in the nation as “false and misleading.”

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Utility spokesperson Cherie Jacobs said Tuesday that TECO is preparing for the energy future while also working with its customers who may have difficulty paying their bills. “The rates we are proposing will support long-term affordability, make our system more resilient and reliable, and ensure we meet the demands of our rapidly growing population,” Jacobs told POLITICO.

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