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JEA, Other Fla. Public Utilities Passing Along Natural Gas Savings To Customers

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BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
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JEA's downtown headquarters building is pictured behind Jacksonville's City Hall.

Buoyed by low natural-gas costs, 21 public utilities throughout the state plan to trim customers’ electric bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida Municipal Power Agency said Thursday.

The savings will total about $60 million over several months, with the utilities expected to include Gainesville Regional Utilities, JEA in Jacksonville, Lakeland Electric, the Orlando Utilities Commission and the Ocala and Tallahassee municipal systems.

JEA announced earlier this month that its customers would see – on average – a lower electric bill in May of about $25.

“People are facing financial challenges due to the pandemic,” Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of the Florida Municipal Power Agency, said in a prepared statement. “We recognize this issue and are working with our member utilities to help them evaluate options for keeping money in the pockets of their customers.”

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

The Florida Municipal Power Agency is owned by municipal utilities and provides wholesale power. The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday is slated to consider plans by four privately held utilities --- Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power --- to pass along savings from lower-than-expected natural gas costs to customers.

Public and private utilities in the state rely heavily on natural gas to fuel power plants.