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Florida Power & Light Absorbs Gulf Power

January is transition month for Gulf Power Company’s absorption into Florida Power and Light. This completes work that began when Gulf Power was purchased by parent firm NextEra in 2019.

The $5.75 billion deal became official as of Monday. The website and app were down during the transition, but it’s all now up and running.

“You can come back to fpl.com or the FPL mobile app, and you’ll have access to your account using your same user name and login information,” said Sarah Gatewood at FPL’s Pensacola office. “We know that it makes better sense and is more cost-effective for our customers to become one company.”

Both Gulf Power and FPL were due for a new rate agreement from the Public Service Commission this month. Gatewood says they filed an application for a one-rate agreement covering all FPL customers in Florida which was approved in late October.

“So since that time we’ve been communicating with our customers through their bills, email, and online to let them know about the new rates,” she said. “In January we’ll have both new base rates and new fuel charges that will result in an overall increase in customer bills in 2022.”

The good news, says Gatewood, is that as Gulf Power becomes part of Florida Power and Light, the latter’s rates historically have been lower than those of Gulf Power.

“So while our rates will go up in 2022, they’re projected to come down after that, until by the end of a 5-year period we’ll be paying the same rates that FPL customers pay in the rest of Florida.”

But for the time being, the average monthly electric bill is expected to go from about $140 to roughly $155 starting this month, based on usage.

“The good news is we’ve had a relatively mild winter so far, and hopefully the weather will continue to be nice to us so that people won’t have to crank up their heaters as much as we saw last year,” Gatewood said. “Because weather is the biggest driver in energy. So if we could manage your usage, you may not see that same impact.”

On another front, Gulf Power has spent the last few years, both alone and with FPL, in expanding its footprints in solar and other renewable energy sources. Sarah Gatewood at the utility says that’s expected to continue full speed ahead under the new umbrella.

“We have several solar energy centers coming on line, and a lot more that we’re getting ready to start on and seeking approvals on,” she said. “I think you’ll see our investment in solar energy just continue to grow, as we become Florida Power and Light.”

Gulf Power is part of $6.5 billion in acquisitions from Atlanta-based Southern Company by NextEra. Those also include Florida City Gas, and natural gas plants near Orlando and Cocoa. Separately, FPL added 35,000 new customers with its purchase of the City of Vero Beach’s electric utility.