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The New Bill Focusing on Natural Gas Could Benefit TECO

Local governments will be prevented from banning natural gas with the New Bill. This will benefit Peoples Gas, Tampa Electric Co.’s sister company. Bill SB 1128 would bar the local governments from banning natural gas from new buildings. Most of Florida’s push for renewable energy sources has originated from municipalities responding to climate change’s effects.

The New Bill would strip their ability to require monopoly utilities in their area. This would be done to opt for carbon-neutral energy sources in new construction. If a municipality decides not to want natural gas in new buildings, then Peoples Gas could lose out on potential customers. In the bill, municipalities would not be allowed to veto the energy source. The customers are preserved for the Tampa utility.

Three of the eight lobbyists registered to the bill represent TECO Energy. TECO is the company that houses both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. According to the company’s website, Peoples Gas serves almost 400,000 customers and 11,000 miles of gas mains in Florida. The Tampa utility spokeswoman did not return the request for comments till Tuesday afternoon.

Florida Electric Power Coordinating Group is representing another lobbyist on the bill. According to a 2019 filing, the most recent available, the non-profit companies board comprises executives from Florida power companies. This includes former Duke Energy Florida President Catherin Stempien, Nancy Tower, outgoing Tampa Electric chief executive, Seminole Electric chief executive Lisa Johnson and Florida Power & Light chief executive Eric Silagy.

The New Bill is framed as an effort to preserve the consumer’s choice of energy sources.

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