Duke Energy Florida
Lineman, Keith Bryne (277734), works on line sensors at McAlpine substation. distribution lines; Charlotte, NC; employee; grid modernization

Duke Energy Florida has received approval from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to move forward with its settlement agreement that will pave the way to a smarter energy future for Florida customers.

The settlement agreement, which was filed in August 2017, includes investments in solar energy, smart meters, grid modernisation projects to enhance reliability and make the grid more resilient and secure, and optional billing programmes to enhance customer choices. The agreement also includes plans to implement a battery storage pilot and to install electric vehicle charging stations.

"This settlement agreement allows us to move forward and deliver what our customers and stakeholders have told us they want from their energy provider," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president.

"We will be able to provide cleaner, more reliable energy along with more information, allowing our customers to better manage their energy needs."

Duke Energy Florida and energy tariffs

Beginning January 2018, the residential rate will be $123.88 per 1,000 kWh. This includes a reduction of $4.65 per 1,000 kWh as a settlement benefit.

The portion of Duke Energy Florida's typical residential, commercial and industrial customer bills associated with the settlement will increase approximately 1-3% annually in 2019-2021; about the same as general inflation rates.

The settlement agreement was developed with representatives of various consumer groups, including the state's Office of Public Counsel, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, the Florida Retail Federation, White Springs Agricultural Chemicals, Inc. d/b/a PCS Phosphate and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Levy nuclear project

The highest-profile part of the settlement involves the Levy nuclear project, which would have involved building two reactors and was rooted in a 2006 state law aimed at increasing the use of nuclear power in Florida. Duke announced in 2013 that it was shelving a plan to build the reactors, but it left open the possibility that it could pursue a nuclear project in the future and obtained key licenses.

The settlement, take that possibility off the table, and Duke will have to write off about $150 million in remaining costs instead of recouping them from customers.

The agreement will take effect in January 2018 and will include investments of nearly $6 billion over the next four years while minimising the impact on customer bills.