JEA considers 4% rate hike, plans to expand solar power

JEA leaders met on Tuesday to talk about the electric bills for area residents and what they will be paying next year.

The rates are likely to go up 4% and there are several reasons why.

Costs have gone up for running the utility, but one primary reason for the increase is that JEA has to start paying the costs for Plant Vogtle, the nuclear power plant in Georgia that is now supplying some energy to JEA. That bill will run over $3 billion.

Austin Castro lives in a one-bedroom apartment and has concerns about his electric bill. He said he just had to pay over $250 for a one-month bill. Now it appears it will go even higher.

JEA CEO Jay Stowe was asked if he had a magic wand, would he wish Plant Vogtle away?

“Not sure if I had a magic wand if that is what I would use it for. What we are going to do is make the best decisions we can,” he said.

At the beginning of next year, JEA will hold a rate hearing and in March vote on increasing bills by 4.3%. It does not stop there because they plan similar increases for the next five years.

The fee to pay for fuel to operate JEA plants will remain the same for now, about 30 to 40 bucks a month for the typical household, but that could change down the line depending on the price of natural gas.

JEA is also expanding its use of solar power by adding four more solar farms.

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