Bill for troubled Plant Vogtle coming due soon, that means more rate increases for JEA customers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA took another step into its new headquarters in downtown Jacksonville on Tuesday.

The first board meeting was held there Tuesday morning and during that meeting, there was more discussion about future rates and how JEA will operate for years to come.

At the meeting, there were a lot of discussions that concerns customers.

The meeting started with public comments on various issues but most spoke about JEA using more solar power while others spoke about the recent base rate hike and how the Black community is being hit the hardest.

During the meeting JEA did focus attention on the future, saying solar and nuclear energy will be a bigger part of the power people will pay for in their homes.

“So what we are going to propose at the next month’s board meeting, we’re gonna take all the comments that we heard today from the public and from the board, and we’re going to come back with more formal recommendations on what our goals will be,” said JEA CEO Jay Stowe.

JEA also appeared relieved to find out that the state legislature’s initial plan to tighten control on city-owned utilities is beginning to loosen and may not be as big of a concern when it comes to how the city can profit.

A lot of attention Tuesday was given to one investment that has seen many problems in the past decade — the nuclear power facility Plant Vogtle being built in Georgia. JEA is responsible for $3 billion of its cost and that bill is coming due soon as part of the plant gets ready to come online.

“In the long run, part of the reason we had the rate change was in order to help fund and pay for Plant Vogtle and we will have some future rate increases in the next couple of years, again, in large part to address the cost of Plant Vogtle when it provides us clean energy for years to come,” Stowe said.

As for the new building, it won’t be open to the public until April 10 and that is when the public can go inside pay bills and do business with JEA.

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Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.