TECO customers criticize proposed rate increase

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Demonstrators protest at HCC Brandon prior to TECO public hearing // Chris Young, 6/13/24

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The Florida Public Service Commission held a public hearing on a proposed rate hike for Tampa Electric customers. 

A rally before the meeting drew advocates fighting to stop the increase.

Demonstrators waved signs and chanted outside of Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon Campus.

According to the advocacy group Food and Water Watch, residents could pay over $200 more each year if the rates are increased.

TECO customer Krystal Pate Harris spoke against the increase.

“I have not been able to provide medicine for myself and some of my children because of the [outrageously] high electric bill, and it just keeps going sky high.”

Other speakers also shared financial hardships with the high costs.

After the rally, many demonstrators headed inside the meeting to give public comment. The Commission mostly heard the public’s thoughts on the rate hikes. 

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp joined residents to share her concerns over the higher costs.

“It’s going to be a long, hot summer, as we know. Record-breaking temperatures, climate change. Please consider the needs of the families feeling this heat, and the pressure of the escalating costs of living.”

TECO says customers’ higher bills would cover operating costs, and earn a quote “fair rate of return on investment”.

Its last rate increase was in 2021. The board will meet again to discuss the rate increases in August.

 

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