City Lowers Utility Rates

The City of Tallahassee has lowered the utility rates for electricity and natural gas for all customers.

City of Tallahassee electric and natural gas customers will see lower utility bills effective Oct. 1. Electric and natural gas rates for residential customers will decrease by two percent each. Rates for commercial customers will lower between 2.9 and 3.4 percent, depending on the size of the business.

City utility rates are adjusted twice annually, in April and October, based on the cost of fuels to run power plants and the price of natural gas. Changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are also taken into account.

Bill Behenna, senior public information officer with the city of Tallahassee, said after examining the overall cost to run the city’s power plants, which are fueled by natural gas, the changing of the CPI allowed the city to lower the rates.

“Some of the key things the city of Tallahassee utilities is doing is really pushing the whole notion of energy efficiency in the home. It delays the process of us having to expand our capacity, but more importantly for the consumer, it allows them to manage their own utility usage and ideally save money,” said Behenna.

Behenna said he has taken advantage of the ceiling insulation rebate program the city offers to consumers who want to make their home energy efficient. This allows him to save on both cooling costs in the summer and heating costs in the winter.

Commercial business owners will be able to take advantage of the lower rates as well.

“Having recently met with a group of small business owners, I know this comes as welcome news as they continue to endure a difficult economy,” said City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, lead commissioner on the City’s Financial Viability of the Government target issue committee. “The City needs to find more ways to help the business community in these trying times.”

Reese Goad, director of utility business and customer services, said homeowners and renters can take simple actions like turning their thermostat up or down, depending on the season, so the home is not heating or cooling while residents are away.

“One of the big efforts people can make, and we do this for free, is contact the city and we will arrange for a free interview audit of your home,” said Goad. “That will always give customers very detailed tips on what they can do in home to further lower the utility bill.”

Fall is typically a great time for homeowners to make energy-efficiency improvements as contractors typically can work with customers on installations faster than during summer months.

With cooler weather on the horizon, this is also a good time for residents to have their home heating systems examined for efficient use.