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Southern Requests Rate Increase for Major Grid Renovation

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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.)


Monthly Bill


January 2009



January 2010



January 2011



September 2011


Interim base rate increase

January 2012


Clause decrease

March 2012


Fuel clause decrease

April 2012


Permanent base rate increase

July 2012


Fuel clause decrease-largest decrease in company history

January 2013


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."

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9/23/2016 4:02 PM
SO $53.53 Up +0.05 +0.09%
Southern Company CAPS Rating: ***