JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA sent out an email on Tuesday to all its customers, and it’s not the holiday greeting we like to get.
It says you’ll be paying more for your electric bill, starting in December.
“Well, nobody likes an increase, but you got to have lights,” said JEA customer Greg Gordan.
It’s not a rate increase — it’s actually called a fuel adjustment charge, which the utility’s board approved in October. JEA can pass on what it costs the utility to produce electricity. The cost of natural gas has skyrocketed in the past few months. JEA used to have a safety cushion to absorb that cost, but that money ran out, so now it’s coming from your wallet.
JEA anticipates that the average household bill will go up about $6 in December. After that, the average household bill could increase by an additional $10 a month. If the cost of natural gas drops, your bill will come down.
JEO CEO Jay Stowe, who has held the job for a year, was out of town on Tuesday but spoke to News4JAX by phone about this.
“We have put in a mechanism that will adjust it each month. It will go up or down based on our actual cost. I suspect we will have a couple of increases and then it will stabilize and go down,” Stowe said.
News4JAX asked Stowe about future increases for JEA, particularly when it comes to Plant Vogtle — the much delayed, over budget, controversial nuclear power plant being built in Georgia that JEA is responsible for more than $3 billion in cost and that’s expected to lead to rate increases down the line.
“I suspect within the next year or so, we will have some tweaks to all of our rates electric water, and wastewater may have some increases. What we’re trying to do is have small regular increases when it’s appropriate,” Stowe said.
Stowe took over at the time of turmoil for the utility, whose former CEO Aaron Zahn and others are still under investigation by the feds. Stowe says he’s pleased with his new management team and that’s the highlight of the year.
Below is the full message that was sent to JEA customers from Stowe: