Southern's (NYSE: SO) Gulf Power utility is requesting two rate increases for its "largest-ever construction program," according to a company press release.

Gulf Power is one of five Southern regulated utilities and accounts for 430,000 of the corporation's 4.4 million total customers.

Per plans submitted to Florida regulators, Gulf Power hopes to make major repairs and infrastructure improvements to its current power grid.

"This is a challenging time for utilities as we continue to provide reliable service to our customers and keep costs down," said Gulf Power President and CEO Stan Connally in a statement. "There are no easy answers, but we've worked hard to control costs and our residential rates are currently lower than they were in 2009." (See the following table.)

Date

Monthly Bill

Details

January 2009

$124.10

 

January 2010

$126.18

 

January 2011

$122.67

 

September 2011

$127.16

Interim base rate increase

January 2012

$125.80

Clause decrease

March 2012

$122.46

Fuel clause decrease

April 2012

$126.53

Permanent base rate increase

July 2012

$116.61

Fuel clause decrease-largest decrease in company history

January 2013

$118.88

Clause and base rate increase

Source: Southern.

The first increase would go into effect in April 2014, adding about $8.94 to the average residential customer's monthly bill, equivalent to a 7.5% increase. To cover new environmental requirements, Gulf Power is requesting an additional $1.99-per-month increase starting in 2015.

The planned upgrade includes new substations and transmission lines that allow Gulf Power to abide by new environmental regulations requiring certain plants to be "shut down at regular intervals." Connally went on to note that "[o]ur obligation is to have the electricity available when and where our customers demand it."

Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no position in any stocks mentioned, but he does use electricity. You can follow him on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.

The Motley Fool recommends Southern. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.