Progress Energy customers will ring in the New Year with higher electric bills.
The energy company received approval Tuesday from the Florida Public Service Commission to increase rates by 3 percent in January 2012. The hike follows two years of bill reductions for customers.
Progress Energy reported that the overall price for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will be $123.19, compared to $119.34 per 1,000 kilowatt hours. The rate increase becomes effective in the January 2012 bills.
Likewise, the average commercial customer bill will increase 3 to 4 percent, and the average industrial customer bill will increase 4 to 5 percent.
Progress Energy officials said that one reason for the rise is that the Crystal River Nuclear Plant is out of service. Company CEO Vincent Dolan said Progress Energy intends to get the plant back online, because "it is our lowest-cost generation unit and provides carbon-free electricity to the more than 1.6 million families and businesses."
An extended outage at the Crystal River Nuclear Plant has caused Progress Energy Florida to use more natural gas, which is the lowest-cost resource next to nuclear power, the company said in a written statement.
For more information about Florida rates and a detailed breakdown of a current residential customer bill, visit www.progress-energy.com/floridarates.