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Panhandle communities are asking for a review of FP&L's rate hikes

The Bay County city of Lynn Haven has joined other Panhandle communities in asking the state Public Service Commission to review Florida Power & Light’s rates.

In a letter posted Wednesday on the Public Service Commission website, Lynn Haven Mayor Jesse Nelson and city commission members targeted an FPL rate increase that took effect Jan. 1.

“As you know, the Florida Public Service Commission's role is to balance the needs of a utility and its shareholders with the needs of consumers and achieves this by regulating the rates and profits of a utility per Florida statute," said the letter.

"We believe this is currently out of balance and request the Florida Public Service Commission staff be directed to reinvestigate FPL's rate increase filings for accuracy, review the current rates effective January 2022 to ensure they are fair and reasonable and review FPL's application of those rates to customer's accounts."

The letter was similar to requests made by officials in other Northwest Florida communities, including Pensacola, Escambia County and Santa Rosa County.

The Public Service Commission in October approved a settlement that included the base-rate increase. Part of the settlement involved integrating the rates of FPL and the former Gulf Power after a merger.

As part of the transition, former Gulf customers in Northwest Florida pay more than FPL customers in other areas and more than customers of Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. Also, utility bills have increased because of higher-than-expected costs of natural gas for power plants.

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