FPUA Pushes Base Rate Hike While Natural Gas Prices Soar

Recently FPUA is trying to blame all of its troubles on the rising prices of liquid natural gas.

FPUA continues to treat it’s customers as little children. The timeline of the gas price increases and what FPUA has done to raise customer rates should be criminal.

 In late March the liquid natural gas prices rise to 5-year highs.

 In April FPUA staff is pushing rate hikes to the FPUA Board and the City of Fort Pierce.

May 2022 FPUA approves a 10% rate hike in sewer/water and electricity rates. The base rate obviously increases the cost and taxes paid to Fort Pierce.

 This huge increase during unprecedented times was celebrated by leadership.

 This is one of the biggest things we’ve ever done. It’s cause for celebration but it also is going to bring some pain so we’re all going to have to commit to being good to our ratepayers.

Mayor Linda Hudson – https://www.wqcs.org/2022-05-17/fort-pierce-commissioners-approve-fpua-rate-hikes-for-water-sewer-gas-and-electric-services

In July FPUA is faced with angry customers struggling to survive. They blame it all on gas prices but approved huge rates while gas prices were just as high.

They find room in their budgeting to lower the PCA by $30 per kWh.

August 2, 2022 they again increase costs to customer by 10% by approving the increase of expenses for smart meters they already had under contract.

August 17, 2022 they lower the PCA again by $10 per kWh. Again making a cut during high natural gas prices.

The real question is just how much have they been overcharging when they have room in their budget to decrease the power cost adjustment by $40 per kWh during natural gas prices not seen in over 5 years?

Why did it take people choosing lights or food for them to lower our rates?

FPUA Has No Oversight or Regulations on Rate Pricing

The Florida Public Service Commission regulates utility companies in Florida. Investor-owned utilities, like FPL, must submit rate changes to the PSC for approval. This helps to keep customer bills from wild swings. The utilities must show cause for raising rates. FPL has made 6 such filings since January 2003.

Municipal-owned utilities like Fort Pierce have little to no regulations on rate hikes.

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority has not made a single rate case filing since 2003. FPUA very much enjoys and even brags about being able to change rates quickly. They simply present it to the politicians in City Hall for approval. It is laughable that local politicians are regulating rates for the good of the community.

To lower the PCA by $40 per 1000 kWh while blaming the crisis on natural gas prices shows that FPUA is not being honest or doing what is best for the ratepayers.