Gulf Power rate hike goes before board today

The Public Service Commission will consider today approving Gulf Power Co.’s interim rate hike request of $38.5 million. The request is part of a $93.5 million permanent rate hike requested in July by Gulf Power, which will boost the monthly electric bill for the average residential customer by $12.15 per month when it’s fully in place. The PSC will decide today whether to approve the $4.49 monthly interim charge beginning in September.

I have had several Pensacola residents ask me why hasn’t the Pensacola City Council weighed in on these rate hikes with a resolution. The council is arguing over Energy Services of Pensacola raising its rates only a few dollars, while the electric company is rapidly increasing its rates in huge chunks.

True, the City Council has no control over Gulf Power and it will make more money on its franchise fees if Gulf Power’s rate hikes are approved, but a resolution sticking up for its citizens would have been nice.

At some point, the Pensacola City Council is going to have move beyond fights over procedure, process and agenda and start paying attention to the people they serve. The Council has missed a unique opportunity to be a voice for its citizens.