It is no secret that the Sunshine State is one of the sunniest places in the country year-round. Greater Tampa Bay enjoys a warm climate and moderate temperature changes throughout the year. Residents enjoy notable savings compared to the rest of the state from local electric companies.
Among these is Tampa Electric Company, which has served Greater Tampa Bay for more than 100 years. TECO offers the second-lowest monthly electricity bills among investor-owned electric utilities in the state, and rates are well below the national average.
Duke Energy Florida services all of GTB, along with multiple counties in North and Central Florida. Duke has a program with cost-saving benefits, called the Neighborhood Energy Saver program. Homeowners may receive up to 16 free upgrades that boost efficiency, depending on results from Duke’s evaluation of the home.
In Polk County, Lakeland Electric has been a locally focused company for more than a century and serves the community with the region’s most affordable rates. It is one of several Florida Municipal & Cooperative Utilities around the state.
Florida Power & Light is the largest electricity provider in Bradenton, located in Manatee County. Residents pay power rates lower than both Florida and national averages. Bradenton’s average residential electricity price is 12.58 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 13.10 cents average in Florida and 14.46 cents average in the U.S., according to data from Find Energy.
Tampa Electric Company
Coverage area: 2,000 square miles including all of Hillsborough County and certain cities in neighboring counties, including Dade City in Pasco; Oldsmar in Pinellas; and Auburndale, Mulberry and Winter Haven in Polk
Duke Energy Florida
Coverage area: All of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee and Polk counties
Coverage area: All of Lakeland and parts of Polk City and Auburndale in Polk County
Florida Power & Light
Coverage area: Bradenton and portions of Manatee County
Both TECO and Duke lead Florida utilities when it comes to providing savings for low-income customers, according to the nonprofit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, with each providing their own weatherization programs.
Through the Neighborhood Weatherization program, TECO installs energy-saving fixtures in qualifying homes for free, such as weather strips for doors, wall plate thermometers and water heater pipe insulation wraps. TECO served 28.8% of the eligible low-income population with this program over a five-year period, more than any other Florida utility, according to SACE.
Duke’s weatherization program helps income-qualified customers save money by providing certain energy-saving services for free, such as sealing air leaks, installing insulation and performing tune-ups.
A sunny disposition
St. Pete has an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, earning it the moniker of the Sunshine City. The GTB region as a whole consistently bright as well, which makes the area extremely well suited for solar energy.
Solar panels provide a unique option to gain energy independence and protect a household from rising energy bills. Sunpro Solar and Tampa Bay Solar can assist with installation, where excess electricity generated by the system can be returned to the power grid, allowing the household to make money in the process.
Tampa Bay Water delivers reliable, affordable and sustainable water to the region. It is the only water utility in the country to harness three different sources, accounting for climate variability, source reliability and environmental sustainability with an eye toward the future.
River water is the primary source, enabling controlled withdrawal in accordance with the high and low river flows. This, along with more than 50 inches of annual rainfall, makes surface water an invaluable resource. Surplus river water that is not treated is stored in a nearby reservoir to help during the dry months.
Groundwater seeps through an underground layer of limestone called the Floridan Aquifer, which is then extracted through wells and sent to treatment facilities. Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are part of a consolidated permit, which lowers the annual average pumping limits for each well, leading to higher groundwater levels and the environmental recovery of nearby lakes and wetlands.
Seawater desalination is a drought-proof water alternative that supplies 10% of the region’s needs. Freshwater is separated from seawater and minerals using reverse osmosis, where it is then blended with other treated drinking water. Careful safeguards are in place to ensure an acceptable salinity concentration for the water returned to the bay after the process is complete.
Tampa Bay Water’s dedication to environmental sustainability and climatic adaptation, along with their ability to take advantage of these three unique sources, make it well equipped to be the region’s wholesale water provider.
Average Temperatures by Month
(in Fahrenheit: low/high) 2010-2019
- January: 52/70
- February: 57/74
- March: 59/77
- April: 67/84
- May: 71/88
- June: 76/90
- July: 77/90
- August: 77/91
- September: 76/90
- October: 69/86
- November: 61/79
- December: 58/75
Annual average: 67/83
By Jewell Tomazin.