For immediate release - September 28, 2011
Power Bills Dropping Faster in Leesburg
With rising prices of food and gasoline driving up essential living expenses in this difficult economy, the City of Leesburg is helping its utility customers more than ever by lowering monthly electric rates.
In fact, Leesburg has lowered residential electric rates nearly 17 percent – more than all other area utilities – during the past two years, according to the latest information from the Florida Municipal Electric Association.
“I think it is important for the city to work on innovative new ways to reduce costs for our customers,” said Leesburg City Commissioner John Christian.
During the same period, average residential electric rates for municipalities throughout Florida dropped 10.4 percent. Progress Energy lowered rates 6.3 percent and SECO Energy, or Sumter Electric Cooperative, increased rates by 1.1 percent, according to reports.
That is money-saving news for Leesburg’s 24,000 electric customers. The city’s rate reduction saves almost $25 each month for a household using an average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power per billing period.
Leesburg’s residential electric rates ranked fifth highest among Florida’s 33 municipal utilities just three years ago. Now the city is ranked 17th – right at the average among those utilities – and continuing to improve.
By comparison, Leesburg charged $123.77 per residential 1,000 kilowatt-hour in August. SECO Energy charged $131.70 and Mount Dora charged $137.39 for the same amount of energy. The Florida municipal utility average was $122.25. Leesburg’s rate for September is even lower.
Leesburg’s lower rates are a direct result of better financial planning. That prompted Fitch Ratings - one of the world's largest credit rating agencies – to upgrade the electric utility last year to an all-time high “A+” credit score based on its improved financial performance.
Customers can help to trim their own bills by reducing electric demands and using energy-efficient appliances. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use up to 75 percent less energy and produce 75 percent less heat than standard incandescent bulbs. Newer LED (light-emitting diode) fixtures last up to ten times longer and save even more power.
Set your air conditioning thermostat at 78 degrees while at home. Use fans – they will make you feel five degrees cooler. Setting your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees warmer while you are away at work for eight hours will save up to 10 percent on your annual cooling costs.
Smarter energy use can save big. Since April 2009, Leesburg has improved operations to save more than $3 million in wholesale electric costs through more efficient electric system optimization and load reduction during peak energy consumption times.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.