(The Center Square) — One of Florida’s largest utilities is asking regulators for permission to lower rates for those who purchase some or all of their electricity from a solar facility to increase participation in the program.
Tampa Electric Company has filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission to lower prices for their customers.
In June 2019, the commission approved the company’s Shared Solar Rider Tariff. The SSR-1 tariff, known as the Sun Select Program, gives residential customers the option to purchase part or all of their household electricity from the company’s Lake Hancock solar generation facility. The SSR-1 tariff adds an additional charge of 0.063 cents per kilowatt hour for participants in the program.
According to a petition filed by Tampa Electric in May 2023, many customers have left the program, with 51% citing high costs as their reason to disenroll.
The petition states that only 35% of Tampa Electric’s customers are subscribed to Sun Select, while 44% of participants ultimately drop from the program. Because of the high customer turnover, Tampa Electric wants to reevaluate the tariff’s pricing model.
The company wants approval to reduce the tariff’s monthly rate from 0.063 cents per kWh to 0.049 per kWh for current and future participants, to rename “monthly rate” to “rate,” and to increase the participation cap from 17.5 megawatts to 30 megawatts.
The filing notes that increased available capacity is needed because promoting green energy options, additional solar assets and a more competitive price will bring customers back to the program.
The PCS held an informal meeting Thursday to discuss a second data request by commission staff on the SSR-1 tariff.
On Wednesday, President and CEO of Tampa Electric Archie Collins, said in a prepared statement that the company intends on lowering costs significantly after filing projected costs to the PSC for fuel, storm costs and new solar plants.
“After record-high temperatures have driven up bills this summer, we are pleased that Tampa Electric customers will soon get some welcome relief. Fuel costs have declined since the high prices of 2022, and, as a result, we are expecting lower electricity bills in 2024,” Collins said in the news release.
The statement further adds that the PSC will vote on requests made by the company in a hearing that begins on November 1.
Within a 2,000 square-mile service territory encompassing Hillsborough and portions of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties, the Tampa Electric Company provides retail services to over 810,000 customers.