PSC again rejects rate hike for Gulf Power

Jul 17, 2012

The Florida Public Service Commission is standing by its decision to deny part of a rate increase request for a panhandle power company. Gulf Power, based in Pensacola, appealed the commission’s earlier decision in February to reject the rate hikes saying Commissioners were confused about the request.

Gulf Power officials argue the rate hike was necessary to buy land in Escambia County that could be used to build new energy generators. When it first pitched the plan to the state utility regulator, it discussed the potential for a nuclear plant as an energy source. The company says the public service commission only focused on the nuclear plant aspect, leading it to reject part of Gulf Power’s request. But on Tuesday, the Commission upheld its decision, saying the power company couldn’t prove it needed more energy.

“There was no need determined for the site no matter what the generating source may be,”   said the Commission's Cindy Muir.

In February, The Commission approved a $64 million rate increase Gulf customers, but the utility wanted another two-million to purchase the site. The company says the additional amount would have meant an extra 20 cents a month on its customers utility bills.