By Michael Dabaie

 

Duke Energy Florida reached an agreement with consumer representatives and business groups that would include investments in grid modernization and electric-vehicle charging stations.

The agreement--subject to approval by the Florida Public Service Commission--includes investments to modernize the electric grid and improve reliability, offers new electric-vehicle charging-station programs, and supports pilot programs for technology such as microgrids and floating solar pilot projects.

Also included is accelerated retirement dates for DEF's last two coal units eight years ahead of schedule, to 2034 from 2042, Duke said.

The agreement would take effect in January 2022 and would include base rate investments of about $5 billion over the next three years.

If approved, DEF's base rates would increase by $67.2 million in 2022, and by another $48.9 million in 2023 and another $79.2 million in 2024, for a cumulative rate increase of $195.4 million.

Duke Energy Florida's average residential customers would see a bill increase of 3% to 4% in 2022. Nonresidential customer bill increases would vary based on consumption patterns, but most would see increases of 1% to 6.5% in 2022. All customer classes would see an annual bill increase of approximately 1% to 2% in 2023 and 2024.

The agreement was developed with customer representatives of several consumer groups, including the state's Office of Public Counsel, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, Nucor Steel Florida Inc. and White Springs Agricultural Chemicals Inc.

"This agreement provides a path to minimize bill increases while continuing to make smart investments that will offer customers greater reliability, cleaner energy alternatives and innovative technology," said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president.

 

Write to Michael Dabaie at michael.dabaie@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2021 15:05 ET (20:05 GMT)

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