TECO Seeks Higher Rates

TAMPA -

State regulators are hearing Tampa Electric Company's case to raise rates this week in Tallahassee.

TECO is asking for a base rate hike that would guarantee its investors a 12 percent return. That would cost consumers roughly $10 more per 1000 kilowatt hours.

But consumer advocates say that rate of return is too high in these economic times and too costly for folks who must choose between paying a light bill and buying food.

Cecilia Bradley is with the Florida Attorney General Office which supports lower rate of return.

'We have to look for some solution that keeps their company profitable but not over so and at the same time allow our citizens to be able to afford services,' Bradley said.

TECO argues the company has not had a rate hike since 1992. However, it has been allowed increases to cover rising fuel costs.

Hearings are scheduled throughout this month. Regulators are expected to rule sometime in the spring.

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