Proposed Drastic Fixed Charge Hike Rescinded
In a settlement to a challenge mounted by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the League of Women Voters of Florida, represented by Earthjustice, Gulf Power has agreed to rescind a drastic fixed charge hike proposal that would have hurt customers.
“We are glad that Gulf Power has agreed to do the right thing,” said Earthjustice attorney Bradley Marshall. “Raising this fixed charge on monthly bills would have unfairly penalized people who use less energy, and that makes no sense.”
Gulf Power wanted to increase the monthly fixed charge on its residential customers’ bills from the already high amount of about $18 to nearly $50. This rate restructuring proposal was unprecedented nationally and would have hit families on low and fixed incomes hard.
“The voices of the citizens were instrumental in this decision. This shows that people are paying attention, getting educated on issues that affect them and speaking out,” said Pamela Goodman, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. Leading up to the hearing, Gulf Power customers were very vocal in their opposition to the proposal, providing comment at public hearings in Panama City and Pensacola, as well as sending over 1,000 letters to the Public Service Commission.
“We are pleased to see Gulf Power withdraw the unprecedented fixed charge increase from their rate proposal,” said Dr. Stephen Smith Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “We firmly believe excessive fixed charges prevent consumers from being able to manage their bills with common sense actions like investments in energy efficiency and solar self generation. As rates continue to go up, consumers need the freedom and flexibility to control their cost while protecting the environment.”
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the League of Women Voters of Florida applaud the abandonment of this unfair rate restructuring, but due to other concerns were unable to sign the settlement agreement.
The hearing is scheduled to begin on March 20th at 1 P.M. at which time the parties will present the settlement to the Public Service Commission.
The League of Women Voters of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit the League’s website at: www.TheFloridaVoter.org.