Energy company gives insight on why energy bills continue to surge

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Most South Florida homes run on energy created largely from natural gas and unlike a car’s fuel, this gas price isn’t getting coming down yet.

“Last month it jumped to $400. I understand prices go up on things but wow we were like ok,” said Whitehawk Jack, a retired Army Veteran who lives in Cape Coral. He said he’s just looking for relief from his high energy bills that skyrocketed over the summer months.

“How much of a shock was that, did you think you had the wrong bill?” I asked.

“Well yeah. I ain’t going to lie to you. I was on the phone immediately,” said Jack. “I’m on a limited income, so every dime counts.”

“Natural gas prices have not stabilized. In fact, they’ve continued to escalate,” said Karen Ryan, a spokeswoman with Lee County Electric Cooperative.

Natural gas prices in the U.S. have doubled in the last year to $8.01 per million BTU. A month ago costing just over $6. In August 2021, natural gas was only $4.15.

The energy source used by Florida Power and Light has risen dramatically in the summer months. In a statement, the power company said:

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“Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) sells wholesale electricity to Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC). The wholesale rate includes the cost of fuel, which is a direct passthrough for which FPL does not profit. Said differently, LCEC pays exactly what FPL pays for the cost of fuel. As part of the wholesale contract between FPL and LCEC, fuel costs are adjusted on a monthly basis to reflect the current price of natural gas, which has increased significantly in recent months due to geopolitical events.”

Ryan explained in simpler terms: providers like LCEC, pay a power bill similar to the way one pays a home’s power bill. The bill from producers, like FPL, comes after the energy is used. Ryan said LCEC now needs to recover $78 million after this summer.

“So it will take a while to recover the cost that’s already been spent to generate the power,” she said, also explaining today’s prices are reminiscent to what many saw in 2008. The price for power eventually dropped.

Many could also see additional taxes or services fees raising their bills from cities, like Cape Coral, or their townships, depending on where one lives.

FPL’s statement continued with:

“Electric utilities nationwide, including FPL, are dealing with the natural gas prices, which has increased sharply this year. In late July, FPL told the Florida Public Service Commission that we do not plan to request a mid-year adjustment to rates in 2022 for our retail customers. By postponing a mid-year adjustment and continuing to update the company’s fuel costs calculation with actual gas prices, sales and revenues, FPL will have a more accurate assessment of the price of fuel for 2022.”

“What can we do what can we cut the corners. I done everything,” said Jack.

Jack said he’s done everything from turning his AC above 80 degrees to keeping lights off and running as few appliances as possible to save money. His last bill was only $8 less.

“During the hot part of the day if it gets too hot, we go get in the pool,” said Jack.

“Hopefully on the next bill he’ll see more of an impact,” said Ryan. “Don’t give up keep trying to conserve energy because it is going to make an impact.“

Tags: energy billsFPL

 

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