ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Duke Energy's residential customers may see a $5.20 a month increase per 1,000 kWh of electricity if the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) approves their petition to recover over $500 million in hurricane and storm-related costs from Hurricane Irma. Commercial and industrial customers would see a rate hike as well.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on September 10 and left a path of destruction with over a million Duke Energy customers impacted.
The response by Florida electric companies was swift, but not without glitches. Duke Energy was accused of not knowing where outages were; missing deadlines; charging late fees; and over-estimating bills.
Crews came to help from as far away as Canada. Thousands of line and field workers replaced poles and transformers all over the region.
According to Duke Energy's press release, they, "restored power to more than 75% of customers in just three days and 99% within eight days."
Duke has petitioned the FPSC to raise rates on its customers to recoup the $381 million that they spent in hurricane recovery and create a $132 million storm reserve fund. Previously, that reserve fund was set at $62 million.
Residential customers will see about a $5.20 rise per month for each 1,000 kWh of electricity. Commercial and industrial customers will see between 2.5% and 6.6% rise in their rates.
"This past hurricane season impacted Florida significantly, from damaging homes and infrastructure to affecting agriculture and tourism. Duke Energy Florida understands the impact this filing has on both our residential and business customers," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president. "We will continue making smart investments to significantly enhance service reliability throughout the year, including during storm season."
The new charges will first be seen in customers' March 2018 bills and continue through February 2021.