ORLANDO, Fla. – If you are an Orlando Utilities Commission customer, be prepared to see an increase in your July energy bill.
“It’s definitely gonna have an impact for sure over the summer as well with air conditioning costs,” OUC customer Michael Barbara said.
The OUC is planning to raise their rates by 10%.
“We are able to absorb those costs to a certain degree but it’s definitely gonna have an impact on some of the funds that we would put away for other uses,” Barbara said.
The proposed 10% rate increase would go into effect June 1 and is expected to be between $10 to 15 more a month. The hikes will be reflected as a fuel cost.
“You see it everywhere for things like fuel. You go to the gas pump these days and it costs you more to drive your car. So, the same exists for us. It costs us more to generate electricity,” said Linda Ferrone, chief customer and marketing officer. “The portion of our rates that are fuel rates—our fuel prices—that’s a direct pass through of our cost to our customer. Since we’re a not-for-profit entity, it’s not about making more money for OUC.”
According to OUC, inflation and the war in Ukraine are main factors contributing to the changes.
“When fuel costs go up, we pass those price increases along to our customers. When they go down, we also pass those along,” Ferrone said.
OUC services more than 267,000 customers in Orange and Osceola counties. The company told News 6 it’s aware many families are already struggling to make ends meet which is why it offers payment plans and programs, such as a free energy efficiency audit.
“We will come out and help you figure out where are you losing money on your electricity or your water perhaps,” Ferrone said. “They come in and they look at your attic installation. They look around your windows and doors to see where you might be leaking air conditioning.”
OUC also offers the Power Pass program, a prepaid plan that, according to OUC, has a significant impact in your monthly bill.
“We see that people that get on our prepaid plan, they experience an 8-10% reduction in their usage because they become very, very aware of how they’re using electricity,” Ferrone said. And through the Efficiency Delivered program, the company provides assistance of up to $2,500 of energy and water efficiency upgrades in a customer’s home.
The utility’s board will hold a public workshop to discuss the proposed rate hike and will meet May 10 to vote on an increase.
To learn more about ways to save on your energy bill with OUC, click here.