Gulf Power Seeks Delay in Recouping Storm Costs

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Gulf Power wants to wait a few more months before starting to collect money from customers to cover costs related to Hurricane Michael.

The Pensacola-based utility last week filed a request at the Florida Public Service Commission indicating that it wants to begin recouping the money in July, after earlier proposing to start in April. The Public Service Commission had been expected during an April 2 meeting to consider allowing Gulf Power to recover the hurricane costs.

But the request last week asked for the commission to take up the matter May 14. Gulf Power, the largest utility in Northwest Florida, filed a petition last month asking the commission to approve a plan to collect an estimated $342 million from customers to cover costs from the Oct. 10 hurricane. Customers would pay the costs over five years.

The Public Service Commission has signed off on such proposals from utilities after past storms. Also, Gulf operates under a 2017 rate settlement that anticipated the utility would be allowed to recover such costs if a major storm occurred.

Last month’s filing said Gulf had 136,000 customer outages and that 120,452 customers lacked power late in the afternoon of Oct. 10. In all, 96 percent of customers in the utility’s eastern area lost power, with more than 99,000 outages in Bay County.

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