Tampa Electric Offers Help with Summer Bills
Undoubtedly, you’ve experienced it firsthand: this summer is one of the hottest on record. As temperatures soar, air conditioners, refrigeration, and other cooling systems bear the brunt, straining to maintain their set temperatures.
One of the highest energy consumers in homes and businesses is air conditioners. They work by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring it outside. The hotter the temperature is, the harder these systems need to work. That leads to much higher energy use and higher electric bills than at other times of the year.
In addition to these seasonal challenges, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved bill increases earlier this year to recoup the costs of exceptionally high fuel prices in 2022 and to cover the restoration expenses after the impact of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in our region. It’s important to note that Tampa Electric does not profit from these increased fuel and storm costs; they are passed directly to customers without markup.
Tampa Electric offers Help with Summer Bills
We know the timing of higher electric bills, in addition to higher costs for just about everything, can be a real hardship for our customers. Tampa Electric is committed to working with customers; here’s what we’re doing to help:
- To help assist customers having difficulty making utility bill payments, TECO is donating $1 million to help customers with summer bills. Share is administered by the Salvation Army and the Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, specifically to provide utility bills assistance. In addition to funds provided by TECO, which are paid by shareholders and do not affect customer bills, Share is funded by the generosity of our own employees, customers, and community partners. Customers that are in need of assistance can call 211.
- We are offering extended payment arrangement options for the remainder of the year. To discuss what options are available, customers can call us at 888-223-0800 (Residential) or 866-832-6249 (Business).
- We are pausing disconnections for nonpayment during periods of extreme heat when the temperature is expected to exceed 93 degrees or higher.
- Our energy experts developed hot weather tips to help customers keep energy costs under control and stay cool at the same time. One of the most important tips is for customers to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher. Every degree below 78 will increase the AC portion of bills by 6-7%. For example, let’s say a customer bill was about $200. During the summer, 50% or more of the bill is from running air conditioning. This means that every degree below 78 increases that customer’s bill between $6 – $7 on average. So, if that person keeps the thermostat at 72, $40 per month can be saved by turning it up to 78 degrees. Customers can visit TampaElectric.com/SavingsTips for more ways to save.
- We have more than 30 energy-saving programs – the most of any utility in the state. These include time of day and interruptible energy programs, online and in-person energy audits and rebates on select energy-efficient equipment. Customers can learn more and sign-up at TampaElectric.com/Save (Residential) or TampaElectric.com/BizSave (Business).
- Some customers may also qualify for assistance from numerous government and nonprofit programs for household expenses and utility bills. Residential customers can call 211 to speak to a representative. Additional resources on financial assistance available to small business customers are available at TampaElectric.com/BizPayAssist.
To help costs in the long term, we are focusing on smart, meaningful investments such as solar energy and plant modernization which help us to reduce carbon emissions and how much fuel is used to produce electricity. Since 2018 solar energy has reduced customers’ fuel costs by $167 million, and our recently completed modernization of the Big Bend Power Plant is estimated to save customers more than $700 million over its lifetime.
And we won’t stop there. We’re committed to working closely with regulators and our community partners to find creative solutions that provide relief for our customers.
For more information on customer assistance, energy efficiency programs, and other helpful services visit TampaElectric.com/Updates.