TAMPA, Fla. (Tampa Bay Now) - Residents in the Tampa Bay Area could soon be paying more for their electric bill if electric companies have their way.
Local electric companies are asking the public service commission to approve higher rates, something residents could see as soon as next January.
"I'm very upset, that's not good," said resident Stephan McQueen.
McQueen says his electric bill has been up to $400 a month and hearing it could get even higher is hard to imagine.
"It's kind of hard. The cost of living, it's not good at all," said McQueen.
But it could become a reality for customers of Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Company or Florida Power and Light.
"It doesn't surprise me. It's like everything else. Gas, milk, meat, bread, anything you buy these days is way higher than what it used to be a couple years ago," said resident, Jim Guth.
The companies are asking the public service commission to approve higher electric rates, and spokesperson for Duke Energy, Ana Gibbs, says it's all because there's a limited supply of natural gas.
"We use natural gas to power the power plants and those power plants is what produces the energy that goes to the polls and wires and eventually when you flip the light switch, keeps your lights on," said Gibbs.
She says the company won't be making more money off of the increase... it's just to keep up with the cost of natural gas.
"We're here to help. It's really important for our customers to recognize that we have programs and tools that can help them manage their bills," said Gibbs.
For the average customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy every month, Duke Energy says customers could be paying $22 more every month. For TECO, the average customer could pay roughly $14 more, and the average Florida Power and Light customer could pay about $10 more every month.
"It's going to impact everyone! Because most of us are living paycheck to paycheck and you have a set amount of money that you stand by to pay your electric bill and gas bill. Now I have to budget in more money," said Guth.
"Keep your head up and try to push through," said McQueen.
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