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Which is the best Tampa Electric rates plan?

This article will explore the rates available to Tampa Electric customers and will explore different strategies to lower power bills. This includes swapping to a lower rate plan, adapting energy efficient measures and even the possibility of going solar as a Tampa Electric customer.

Why are Tampa Electric's electricity rates lower than other utilities in Florida?

Tampa Electric (TECO) is a privately owned utility that serves about 2,000 square miles in West Central Florida, including Hillsborough County, part of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, with an estimated population of over one million.

TECO's residential rates are below both the national and Florida utility averages. In fact, their power bills are 17 percent below the national average. A typical usage of 1000 kWh of power per month will cost customers $106 in 2018, which has increased by about 1% from $104.68 in 2017.

TECO still use predominantly coal and natural gas to generate the energy to power homes. They have 4 power generating facilities which produce 4,700 megawatts of electricity. This can be compared to a combined 26.8 megawatts of electricity generated from their 3 biggest solar arrays.

A summary of TECO residential rate plans?

Tampa Electric offers 3 plans for residential customers: Standard Residential Rate (RS), Residential Service Variable Pricing (RSVP-1) and Time-of-Day General Service, Non-Demand (GST).

Standard Residential Rate (RS)

The Standard Residential Rate (RS) is a tiered rate plan, and is available to all customers in the Tampa Electric area.

A tiered rate plan means customers will pay more for power over a baseline limit. In the case of Tampa Electric the baseline limit is 1000 kWh. As you can see in the table below customers will pay more for both the energy and fuel charges once they use over 1000 kWh.

Plan Name: Residential (RS)
Last Update: January 16, 2017
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $16.62
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.087
Tier2: $0.108
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 1,000 kWh
Tier2: Above 1,000 kWh

For more information, check out the residential rate plans.

A "Tiered rate plan" is a rate plan where the amount you pay per kWh for electricity increases as the quantity of electricity consumed increases. Generally there is a baseline allowance of a certain number of kWhs (kilowatt hours) per month that are charged at a cheaper rate, and then usage above this allowance is charged at a higher rate.

What are Tampa Electric's peak and off peak periods?

Definitions of the use periods: All time periods are stated in clock time (Meters are programmed to automatically adjust for changes from standard to daylight saving time and vice-versa).

Peak Hours: April 1 - October 31 November 1 - March 31
Monday - Friday 12:00 Noon - 9:00 PM 6:00 AM - 10:00 AM and
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Off-Peak Hours: All other weekday hours, and all hours on Saturdays, Sundays, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are Off-Peak.

Time-of-Day General Service, Non-Demand (GST)

Note the basic service charge is higher than usual to accommodate the cost of installing smart meters. Whether or not this charge is reduced once the meters are paid for remains to be seen.

The GST rate plan is available to the entire service area provided energy consumption has not exceeded 9000 kWh over the last 12 consecutive billing periods.

For more information, check out the residential rate plans.

Basic service charge credit: Any customer who makes a one time contribution in aid of construction of $94.00 (lump-sum meter payment), shall receive a credit of $2.22 per month. This contribution in aid of construction will be subject to a partial refund if the customer terminates service on this optional time-of-day rate.

This basic service charge credit is really interesting. In about 3.5 years the $2.22 credit per month will equate to $94.00. It does not say how long the $2.22 credit will be awarded to customers. If they give the credit for longer that 3.5 years then this could be worth it, as it is approximately equivalent to receiving a 23% interest rate return on your money.

Residential Service Variable Pricing (RSVP-1)

Determination of pricing period: Pricing periods are established by season for weekdays and weekends. The price levels are P1 (Off-Peak: Low Cost Hours), P2 (Mid-Peak: Moderate Cost Hours) and P3 (Peak: High Cost Hours).

The pricing periods for price level P4 (Critical Cost Hours) shall be determined at the sole discretion of the Company. Level P4 hours shall not exceed 134 hours per year.

The pricing period for the following observed holidays will be the same as the weekend hour price levels for the month in which the holiday occurs: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

This is a strange plan, although the energy and demand charges stay the same for all pricing periods. The somewhat hidden energy conservation charge varies and can be seen below:

Plan Name: Residential - Variable Pricing (RSVP-1)
Last Update: January 16, 2017
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $16.62
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.062
Mid-Peak: $0.082
Peak: $0.164
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 6am, 11pm to midnight
Mid-Peak: 6am to 1pm, 6pm to 11pm
Peak: 1pm to 6pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Mid-Peak:
Peak:
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.062
Mid-Peak: $0.082
Peak: $0.164
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 5am, 11pm to midnight
Mid-Peak: 5am to 6am, 10am to 11pm
Peak: 6am to 10am
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Mid-Peak:
Peak:

This means power doesn't stay at 5.55 cents per kWh, as in the P4 level power really costs over 45 cents per kWh. This plan is relatively cheap in the P1 and P2 periods, but become more expensive during the P3 and P4 periods.

Can be checked here on page 63.

Do TECO offer solar generated energy?

Tampa Electric gives customers and option to purchase renewable energy in 200 kilowatt block units at $5 each per month. For each block purchased, Tampa Electric will distribute 200 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. Your participation will help support technologies that create more energy from renewable sources.

TECO don't explicitly say, but from what I can tell this $5 is a donation and you'll still have to pay for electricity at your usual rate.

How do I work out if I am on the cheapest Tampa rate plan for my usage pattern?

To do an exact comparison requires collecting your detailed usage data for the last 12 months. This is known as Interval Data and sometimes also called Green Button Data.

 

Interval Data
Green Button data

 

Interval or Green Button data is your electrical usage data for the last 12 months in one hour (or even shorter) intervals. This data is available from your utility provider.

 

HINT: Often the easiest way to get this data is to ask a solar company to get it for you as they need to retrieve this data in order to properly estimate the costs and savings that might be available to you by installing solar panels in the Tampa area.

How do I get my interval data for the last 12 months?

This data is available from Tampa Electric. You can ring them and they are required by law to send it to you, but it will probably take a long time to get the data.

However, if you own your home and it is a single family dwelling, a really good way to get this data for free is to request solar quotes from local solar companies.

Solar companies will usually retrieve and analyze your interval electricity usage data for free in the hope of winning your solar business.

Calculate your likely cost, savings and payback period from installing solar panels given your usage

Calculate

How much can I save per month by swapping to my cheapest plan?

For most people the amount you can save by swapping plans is minimal because electric plans are approved by the Florida Public Utilities Commission (FPUC) and plans are geenrally designed to work out roughly the same in terms of total costs for consumers with average consumption patterns. There are opportunities for savings however, as the differences between the plans exist to encourage consumers to shift some of their usage to periods of the day that add the least additional burden to the Tampa Electric generation and distribution systems.

In most cases savings from changing plans will be between $0-$10 per month, but could be much larger for high energy users or for homes and businesses with non-typical usage patterns.

If you really want to save money, go solar. You can save thousands of dollars from going solar.

Solar has a 8-10 year payback period in Florida. This means if you purchase a system it will take 8-10 years to pay for itself. Then the system will provide you with 15-17 years of free power. Solar has many other benefits and is one of the best investments you can make.

Going solar has never been easier, and the available incentives make it the perfect time. Solar is a no-brainer, talk to local solar installers about your options or use this free calculator to see how much solar can save you.

Find out how to reduce your TECO electricity bill.