LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland residents can expect to see their electric bills climb.
When Karen Lane opened her electric bill these past two months, she noticed it went up by $40. “I just see it climbing, climbing, climbing,” said Lane.
She said conserving electricity has been difficult when temperatures are so warm. “It’s too hot, I mean I try to put it up a little higher when I can,” said Lane.
It’s those record-high temperatures across the country, along with a shortage of natural gas, driving prices up for Lakeland Electric.
“Because the cost of gas has gone up so much so quickly, we haven’t had any choice but to raise them now,” said Lakeland Electric utility marketing manager Cathryn Lacy.
Lakeland Electric is raising its fuel rates from $60 to $75 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, starting September 1. It’s the utility’s highest fuel rate to date. Without the hike Lakeland Electric’s Fuel Reserves fund would be fully depleted.
“We were forecast to be at zero dollars by the middle of September, so it was necessary for us to raise this cost so we could keep fuel running,” said Lacy.
The utility company is offering rebates to encourage customers to conserve electricity.
“Getting your HVAC system maintenance, you can get a $100 rebate for that. It makes your system run more efficiently. It helps us because we don’t have to supply a huge amount of power in the hottest part of the day,” Lacy said.
Another easy tip is setting your thermostats to 78 degrees. Customers can call Lakeland Electric to have an energy auditor come to your home and provide more personalized tips free of charge.
Customers worried about their monthly bill can visit Lakeland Electric for more customized ways to save.