From Scott Carlberg

The headline: Florida Power & Light customers to see lower bills in 2020.

That non-Carolina headline late last week caught our eye during the discussion about the changing power business at the recent South Carolina Clean Energy Conference.

This headline from WOGX-TV caught our attention

Pay less for power even when the grid is being improved? That doesn’t seem to be in the cards as many utilities ask for rate increases, promise to freeze rates, or are in states still evolving their energy policy.

A lot of conversation is about changes in the utility business, customers, costs, and technology. This story shows that rates can change in a way other than up, even in a place that has invested significant capital in improvements in electric infrastructure. (For instance, Florida hardened its electric system against hurricanes and made an impressive recovery following Maria.)

In the Southeast there are various power price headlines.

  • FPL plans a roughly $4 per customer decrease.
  • Duke Energy requested rate increases and were turned down in SC earlier this year. Duke is appealing that decision by the SC PSC.
  • Duke’s multi-year rate plan did not pass in NC, but a compromise did pass that allows for securitization of storm costs.
  • Dominion has announced a rate increase case in 2020 that is part of the approval for its SCANA purchase.
  • Santee Cooper says it will freeze rates even with thousands of debt dollars per-customer waiting in the wings.
  • Georgia Power has increased rates primarily to cover construction at the Vogtle nuclear site.

You can see why this headline snagged our attention.

The headline that ECC sees is this: Electric utilities with financial flexibility, economies of scale in operations, and excellent planning skills can be really customer-friendly.