PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Many Northwest Florida residents have experienced significant price increases on power bills, and so have local governments.
As News 13 has reported, homeowners are struggling to deal with huge rate hikes from power company FPL.
Government entities are starting to feel the effects, too.
FPL reportedly reached out to Bay District Schools several months, saying the power bill would be a 20 percent increase.
“Fortunately, for us, that’s halfway through our fiscal year, so we’ll only feel half of [the effects] in this fiscal year, so that does help us a little bit,” BDS Chief Financial Officer Jim Loyed said. “We project a slight increase every year, so hopefully with it only being half a year and us projecting somewhat of an increase, we won’t go over budget.”
Loyed said the school district budgets out around $8 million for electricity for the school year, so the percentage increase would add on around an extra $1.6 million.
“If we end up going over budget, we had already projected somewhat of an increase, and this is only going to take effect for half of our fiscal year,” he said. “It could still fall within our budget, but we won’t know until closer to the end of the year.”
The cities of Callaway, Parker, and Springfield say FPL reached out to them a few months in advance, announcing they’ll be raising rates and for the cities to be prepared.
Callaway City Manager Eddie Cook also cautions that as of right now, the increases will not be passed on to taxpayers.
“We are not concerned that we are going to be looking at any sort of rate increases in any shape or form, in the form of utilities or ad valorem or anything like that towards our citizens,” Cook said. “We understand that they’ve already been hit hard by the pandemic and the cost of goods just in general across the board.”
Springfield officials said they are not sure yet if they’ll have to raise utility rates for residents.
FPL is aware many Panhandle residents are feeling effects from power price hikes.
In a statement to customers, the company said they are in “an unusual situation that is causing higher-than-expected power bills for many Northwest Florida residents… including cold weather, new rates, and tiering structure, and increased cost of fuel.”