Tallahassee electric utility customers will see a lower rate beginning this month.
The city announced utility customers will see an eight percent decrease on their next October bill, a declaration that gives city resident, Rondha Showers, a sigh of relief during these tough economic times.
“I can now relax a little bit because that’s one less over-priced bill I have to worry about during this horrible financial crisis,” Showers said.
Based on the market conditions and strong demand for fuel, the city budgeted $300 million for fuel prices last year. This year, the budget dropped to under $200 million.
According to www.naturalgas.org, natural gas is the cheapest and cleanest form of fossil fuel used the United States. Natural gas accounts for 23 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States.
Tallahassee uses more than 95 percent of the fuel to produce electricity. When the price of gas drops, residents can expect savings. The decrease in natural gas over the past six months has resulted in an 18 percent decrease in utility rates. This recent reduction will put $65 million of city revenue back in the community and average households can save $335 each year.
Reese Goad, director of utility affairs, said the average household electric bill was $150. This month, that same bill has dropped to $129, which makes Tallahassee rates lower than the $132 average of all Florida electric utility providers. This is the first time in several years Tallahassee has had the lowest rates.
For some students like Adrian Green, 20, a third-year graphic design student from Tampa, the drop does not directly affect him because electricity is included with his housing.
“I think it’s a good thing because a lot of students struggle month to month,” Green said. “I have friends with a lot of utility coverage and I see it breaking their pockets, but I stay on campus so it doesn’t really affect me.”
Natasha Bailey, 32, a fourth-year biology student from Natchez, Mississippi, said the news still raised questions even though she stays outside of the city limits.
“I have Talquin Electric because I stay right outside of Tallahassee,” Bailey said.
“My [utility] bill is $300. I welcome [the decrease], but when that happens I’m very leery as to how long it will last, and at what rate and cost?”
City officials said they have a contract for lower natural gas prices that will keep utilities low for the next 24 months. Officials said the rates might drop again in the spring.