Meeting on raising TECO rates brings out complaints

10/22/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

A variety of people from different constituencies gathered at a public hearing last night to trash a proposal by Tampa Electric Co. to raise electricity rates.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) will rule early next year on base rate and fuel increases that would increase customers' bill up 21 percent, or roughly $12 a month.

Originally, TECO was going to request a combined 31 percent rate hike, but the company announced last week that with fuel prices dropping, so would their request for a bump to pay for a fuel increase.

Hillsborough County School Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia says the proposed rate increase for TECO will cost the district $10 million to $12 million - something she said it could ill afford in the wake of budget cuts over the past year.

Katie Holton said she is a registered nurse and a director of discharge planning for a 120-bed hospital. She said being on a fixed income strains the ability of some to pay higher electric bills.

A rare voice in support of the rate hike came from Sherry Donahue.

Recently, Tampa City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena tried to get the rest of her colleagues on the Council to oppose the rate increase.

There are some people in Tampa who think TECO is going too slow in moving toward providing alternative forms of energy.

The PSC meets tonight in Lakeland. They will rule on TECO’s request next April; if approved, rate increases would begin in May.

(Special thanks to Andrea Lypka and Colleen Krepstekies for helping to produce this report).

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