Press release: 350 Pensacola strongly opposes the dramatic rate increase proposed by Gulf Power Co. due to its negative impact on low income residents and those who conserve energy.
Gulf Power’s proposed rate structure would be a major increase to the base rate, which is the fixed amount that customers pay just to have service, regardless of whether they use any electricity or not. If the rate increase is approved, customers would owe nearly $50 on their bill before they even turn the first lightswitch—a huge increase from the current base rate charge of $18.
Families that work hard to conserve, to turn off lights and adjust their thermostat, and add insulation to their home, will be penalized by this rate structure. Those who live in apartments and thus use less electricity, will also be penalized.
“This past year, I lowered my monthly bill significantly, partly because I had trouble paying it the previous year, and partly to try to conserve energy to help the environment,” says Bev Perry, a 350 Pensacola board member. “The proposed increase in the base rate will make those efforts to lower my bill almost meaningless. Low income people and those with small homes, like me, will be hurt by the base rate increase, as well as those who try to lower their usage through renewable energy and conservation.”
Part of the justification for Gulf Power’s dramatic base rate increase is to fund its part ownership of perhaps the nation’s dirtiest power plant—the coal-fired Plant Scherer–located near Macon, GA. The plant has the dubious distinction of being the highest greenhouse gas emitting plant in the U.S., and has been investigated for drinking water contamination from coal ash deposits. Instead of investing in increasingly cheaper and cleaner energy from the wind and sun, this dramatic increase in base rates for customers would fund this dirty dinosaur of a power plant and put Northwest Florida further behind in the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy.
350 Pensacola supports electric rates that reward conservation and responsible behavior, not penalize it.