JEA votes to reduce fuel surcharge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's rare these days to hear about the price of something going down, but the cost of one very important household necessity is actually on the decrease -- electricity bills.

Officials with JEA voted Tuesday to approve a fuel rate reduction rate to be included in the budget being presented next month. They also called for a rate hearing to consider the elimination of the water and sewer service availability and environmental rate increases that were scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.

The proposals will save customers money every month.

If electric bills were based on the price of gasoline, residents would all be paying through the roof when the prices peak.

But instead, electricity is dependent on the price of natural gas or solid fuel, which both are becoming less expensive.

"This is great news for our customers," JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said. "This is because we have such a diverse fuel fleet that we can switch fuels to use what is most economical."

Boyce said committee members will consider lowering the current variable fuel rate charge of $47.74 to $43.60.

JEA said it's been able to shift more toward natural gas, a move that will save the average JEA customer $5.18 a month.

"It's definitely a positive for everybody," customer Shaunna White said. "Everyone, everything is going up these days so whatever kind of break we can get here and there it will help out."

"It's very good, very good," customer Ted Pina said. "Put a zero on the end and I'll be a little bit more happy."

JEA officials will also discuss water and sewer bills. They may eliminate a proposed rate increase, which would also save customers money.

"Should the board decide to do so, they could vote to have a rate hearing in June, which would reduce the fourth-year increase so that your water and sewer rates would remain the same," Boyce said.

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