Energy regulation changes needed

State and federal regulations control what energy producers like Tampa Electric can pay for electricity from other producers, including city and county owned facilities.  TECO can only buy electricity for what it costs them to produce it so as to not increase costs to consumers.

Another problem is that contracts with Tampa Electric keep the city and county from using their own power unless the property is adjacent to their production plant and TECO refuses to allow the use of their lines to transmit the power over any distance.

The upshot of all this is that innovative alternative energy producers are finding it nearly impossible to build profitable facilities within TECO’s (monopoly) franchise area.  One recent and notable exception is that the Florida Public Service Commission permitted TECO a 25-year contract with a solar energy company named Energy 5.0 that would begin passing along to customers an extra charge of $0.52 per month .

The precedent set here is that a regulated energy company like TECO can in fact buy alternative energy at a higher rate than they can produce it themselves and pass that added cost to consumers.

The public good is also served here in that alternative sources of energy can be built that although somewhat more expensive now, will cost less as the technology gets better and cheaper later. One bonus is that we can all look forward to clean, abundant energy that is not produced from foreign oil or domestic coal. Another bonus is that new alternative energy facilities also mean new alternative energy jobs.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Source: Tampa and Hillsborough generate power by burning trash, and chafe at limits on its sale and use

Regulators give Tampa Electric green light for solar

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