With Lakeland Electric officials forecasting higher natural gas prices this winter, the City Commission is raising the fuel charge portion of electric bills, which was kept artificially low at the start of the pandemic.

Commissioners voted Monday to raise the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers from $30 to $35 per 1,000 kilowatt hours for January through March 2021.

For a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month, that represents an increase in the fuel charge of $5 a month. Combined with the $64.87 base charge, the total bill goes from $94.87 to $99.87 for that customer.

The fuel charge steadily dropped from a high around $58 in 2010 to a low of $20 last spring. The rate for the first quarter of next year is a bit above the rate charged during this year’s first quarter.

The commission also adjusted the fuel rate for customers on Shift-to-Save time-of-day billing. The on-peak fuel charge for residential and commercial Shift to Save customers will change to 124.2% of the fuel charge, abd the off-peak fuel charge will become 89.1% of the fuel charge. That represents a 6.6% decrease to the on-peak fuel charge and a 3.0% increase to the off-peak fuel charge.

For details on the increase in the fuel rate increase, watch a video of Monday’s Lakeland Utility Committee meeting.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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