A rude awakening is coming for Florida residents on their electricity bills. Beginning January 1, 2022, customers will start to see large rate increases go into effect across the state.
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Why Are Florida Electric Bills Going Up?
One of the reasons Florida electricity bills have been rising is due to the age-old economics formula of supply and demand. The increase in demand for energy has decreased supply and upped its cost. Floridians are using more energy than ever thanks to climate change’s effect on not only harsh winters and summers, but year-round weather and disasters.
And it’s not just in Florida. Globally, electricity users are seeing these increases as well. But the climate and consumers aren’t the main ones to blame in this case. The true culprit? The greed of the power companies.
Traditional power companies have not done their due diligence to maintain their infrastructure over the years. They’ve skated by doing only what has been necessary to keep things running, until even that wasn’t enough. This lack of adaptation has led to more blackouts and grid failures than ever. The power companies have finally realized something needs to be done. An upgraded power infrastructure to meet the demand of consumers sounds great right? The problem? They’re passing off these costs for necessary fixes and upgrades onto the consumer. Instead of utilizing profits to ensure the product they promised to provide is up to par, they’re charging their customers more. This means that Florida residents are stuck footing the bill to upgrade the power company’s infrastructure and modernize the product themselves. Power companies regularly make power moves such as this.
The Merger of Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power
Florida Power and Light (FPL) is the largest utility company in Florida and serves more than 11 million customers in the sunshine state. This area of the U.S. doesn’t provide customers options for power companies, and FPL is only growing their monopoly by gobbling up another competitor.
Effective January 1, FPL’s merger with another Florida power company, Gulf Power, is official. This brings on more customers and more profits for FPL. However, a hold up on this merger was that the two companies had widely different rates for their customers.
Florida Power & Light Rate Increases
They reached a settlement that will see many customer rate increases due to the merger alone, without any other factors. The decrease of competition will leave residents no longer having a cheaper option. Some customers will be assuming the higher rate between the two companies, then on top of that will absorb costs of FPL proposed grid improvements.
Will electricity bills keep rising in Florida?
Unfortunately, yes. The Public Service Commission approved four years of base-rate increases. (To the tune of a $692 million increase in base rates in January 2022 and another increase of $560 million in 2023)
The average monthly electricity bill for Florida Power & Light’s residential customers was $94.38 U.S. dollars per 1,000 kilowatt hours in 2020. Now, some FPL/Gulf Power customers could see bills go as high as $137.49 per 1,000 kilowatt hours in January. The additional cost per month adds up to a large unexpected chunk of change for homeowners and their families.
Electric bills are predicted to continue rising with no relief in sight for consumers. This is not limited to the winter months of increased personal energy consumption as the Energy Information Administration has warned the public about. But instead, this also extends to year-round base rate increases from electric companies, regardless of consumption.
Tallahassee Electricity Costs
Tallahassee, Florida, is one city that has taken the reins on developing a Clean Energy Plan to better their environment. They have committed to a cleaner, 100% renewable energy Tallahassee by 2050. They are one of only 10 cities in Florida to make this pledge.
Tallahassee City Operations is aiming to achieve 100% clean, renewable energy for themselves by 2025, and then achieve the same community-wide by 2050. By basing their infrastructure around renewable energy instead of dirty fossil fuels, Tallahassee will be propelled forward to be one of the best places in Florida to work and live. Technologies such as solar energy will be a major aid in getting the community there.
Currently, the average Tallahassee residential electricity rate is 12.4c/kWh, which is 8.85% greater than the average rate of Florida. And Tallahassee residents are tired of paying more for less reliable, non-renewable energy operated through outdated infrastructure. Tallahassee’s Clean Energy Plan will inform and motivate energy users on the better options for powering their world.
Destin Electricity Costs
Destin, Florida is a city burdened with residential electricity rates higher than the national average and even 5.6% greater than Florida’s average rate. Electricity consumers pay nearly 12.06c/kWh for electricity consumption. With these prices predicted to rise in 2022 in Florida and every year after, Destin residents are starting to desire different sources of energy that are better on their wallets and the environment. The city of Destin’s inflated energy rates make way for high savings potential and its sunny weather means greater solar panel production ratios.
Protect Yourself From Rate Increases by Switching To Solar
A sure-fire way to protect yourself from base electricity rate increases in Florida is to take your power back into your own hands. Instead of relying on greedy utility companies as your energy source, consider producing your own energy. Florida homeowners, from the Panhandle to the end of the US 1 Overseas Highway, have made the switch to solar energy. Because of this, homeowners have been able to lower their electricity bills and lower their carbon footprint.
The more homeowners who choose personal solar energy as their power source, the more that all grid consumers are protected from rate increases, blackouts, grid failures and pollution. Homeowners who opt for a solar battery system to save the excess power their system creates can protect themselves even further. A battery system allows them access to power at night, during weather events that impact their panels production, and power outages. By having to use less energy from the grid thanks to your own solar panels, the alarming electricity rate increases imposed on Florida residents every year will have little to no impact on you.
Florida Solar Incentives
If Florida utility companies drastically increasing rates isn’t enough to convince you to go solar, there are many additional incentives for homeowners to make the switch.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
The most lucrative incentive that applies to residents anywhere is the Federal Solar Tax Credit, or ITC. This incentive qualifies you to potentially receive a 30% tax credit on a home solar system and solar battery when it comes time to file your federal taxes.*
Sales Tax Exemption for Solar Panels in Florida
We’re all used to sales tax added on to the cost of goods when we make a purchase. Usually the amount is small, but when that tax is on bigger purchases it can be quite the additional expense. There is an exemption on the 6% state sales tax when you buy solar panels in Florida. This saves you even more money on the total cost of your solar system.
Florida Net Metering
If the Florida sun helps your solar panels produce more energy than you can use, what happens to that energy? Well, because Florida has the Net Metering partnership with utility companies, you can earn credits on your future bills by sending your unused energy back to the grid. This allows you to further reduce your electricity bill and even gives you the potential for a negative balance! This way, when it is nighttime, you can use energy from the grid without it costing you. Each utility company has different requirements for participating in net metering and credit amounts it extends to customers. You can find out what you qualify for here.
Property Tax Exemption for Solar Panels
While having solar panels installed increases your home value, rest assured that you are protected from a rise in your property taxes. The Florida government waives property taxes for value added by solar panels, so your property taxes will stay the same. Your solar panels will also bring you selling power should you choose to list your home, as homes with solar panels sell more quickly and buyers are willing to pay more for a home with solar panels.
Turn Toward The Sun In Florida
The solution lies in the sky. Now is truly the best time to go solar in Florida. There are many reasons why solar panels are worth it in Florida, especially in cities such as Destin and Tallahassee, where there is ample opportunity to save money and protect yourself from the impending electricity rate hikes.
Don’t foot the bill for the power company to upgrade their energy source, instead, you can pay toward your own home solar system that will benefit you directly. Speak with a reputable solar energy company in Florida that can help you get around these electricity rate increases by powering your home with solar.
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*Tax and credits or incentives including those provided by federal, state, or local governments may change or end. This can impact the amount of money you might save. Consult a tax professional to understand any tax liability or eligibility for any tax credits that may result from the purchase of your solar system.
If you have taxable income and own the system, you may qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC). It is your responsibility to determine your eligibility and to apply. Consult a qualified tax professional for assistance and details.