Florida’s Gulf Power drops rate hike proposal in crucial settlement

Gulf Power has withdrawn its proposal that would have raised monthly fees and discouraged rooftop solar, after energy consumers appealed to the utility in over 1,000 written letters and public hearings. Source: Gulf Power

Utility Gulf Power has reached a settlement with Florida’s clean energy industry as it drops its proposal that would have resulted in a 155% increase in power rates.

In January, Gulf Power attempted to acquire regulators’ approval to raise the fixed charge for electric customers to US$47.40 per month, as well as reduce energy charges for customers based on energy usage, as previously reported by PV Tech.

However, in the settlement filed just this morning, Gulf Power has withdrawn its proposal, which would have charged consumers almost US$50 per month, regardless of how much power they consumed. The settlement is a victory for consumer freedom and energy independence, allowing consumers to retain control over their monthly power bills through measures such as energy efficiency, and importantly, rooftop solar.

Rooftop solar was discouraged under the previous proposal, as solar users who are lower-usage customers than traditional electricity customers would have been penalised. 

Industry backlash against proposal

The settlement was reached as a direct result of Florida’s energy consumers and installers alike appealing to the utility through letters and public hearings in Panama City and Pensacola, according to Floridians for Solar Choice (FSC).

One such letter by Gary M. Cook, a retired engineer and a Gulf Power rate payer, wrote how the proposal discouraged residential solar and its various benefits:

“While I understand the need for Gulf Power to earn a fair rate of return for their investment, I don't see why the increase in the base charge is necessary as it raises the bar for the homeowner in making their own investment for their power supply. If increased income for Gulf Power is justified, then raise the rates on consumption both in energy and capacity,” it read.

“We are glad that the fixed charge increase has been removed from Gulf Power’s rate restructuring. This removal is a common sense decision, meaning customers will now retain their freedom to manage their own power use regardless of whether that means being smart with their electricity use every month or investing in rooftop solar,” said Tory Perfetti, chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice and Florida director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom. “Consumer choice is a staple of Florida’s economy, and this fixed charge hike would have been a step in the wrong direction.”

7 September 2022
The demand for rooftop solar PV is soaring, driven by falling costs of the technology against energy crises that are gripping countries globally. But while an increasing number of households turn to solar to generate their own electricity, there is now a need for more specialist equipment, technologies and services to ensure the solar transition can reach as many customers as possible. Delivering these is now a major challenge for rooftop solar installers. This webinar will analyse the characteristics of the rooftop solar market, discussing how the products, logistics, installation and servicing of solar systems has evolved in line with consumer demands.
4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
August 15, 2022
PV Tech Premium speaks with US developers who are railing against the country's long interconnection queues, which they say are dampening deployment and pushing up the cost of solar PV
August 15, 2022
The US House of Representatives on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The largest climate package in US history will now move to the desk of President Joe Biden, where it is expected to be signed into law as early as today.
August 11, 2022
Finlay Colville, Solar Media's head of market research, lays out the UK's path to achieving 40GW+ of solar PV by 2030 after rebounding from recent headwinds in its solar sector
August 11, 2022
US solar tracker supplier Array Technologies has bounced back from a difficult 2021 by posting strong Q2 2022 financial results mainly due to its acquisition of STI Norland, while upcoming tailwinds could buoy its performance further still moving through the year.
August 10, 2022
OMERS Private Equity has acquired a minority stake in the Arizona-headquartered solar operations & maintenance (O&M) provider NovaSource Power Services.
August 10, 2022
US solar tracker manufacturer FTC Solar has cut its net losses compared with last quarter and Q2 2021 but has seen its revenue collapse, blaming a hostile solar environment in the US that has seen project delays and cancellations, which it said it now hoped was coming to an end.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 7, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
September 14, 2022
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event