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The latest happenings in your city government.


Lakeland Electric Celebrates Public Power Week

Lakeland Electric will celebrate Public Power Week during October 7-13, 2012 along with more than 2,000 other electric utilities that collectively provide electricity on a not-for-profit basis to 46 million Americans. 

“Public Power Week is a chance for Lakeland Electric to articulate why public power works in Lakeland.  We are absolutely dedicated to providing a high level of service at affordable rates,” said Joel Ivy, Lakeland Electric’s General Manager.

Public Power Week is an annual event that takes place throughout the nation.  It is sponsored in conjunction with the American Public Power Association (APPA) in Washington, D.C.  APPA is the service organization for community and state-owned electric utilities.

“We are proud to have served the customers of Lakeland Electric for over 100 years,” Ivy said.  “Lakeland Electric contributes to the area’s economic vitality.  We understand how critical electricity is for our customers and we strive to find better ways to deliver it efficiently, reliably, safely and with special attention to the environment,”

Lakeland Electric is Florida’s third-largest public power utility and it provides electricity to more than 120,000 customers. Power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two main power plants, the 941-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 110-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. The utility also operates a group of diesel unit’s capable of producing up to 50- megawatts for emergency purposes.

 


Mayor Fields Shares Excitement About USF Health System

Today, during her State of the University address, USF President Judy Genshaft announced that the university plans to create USF Health System, and looks to Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. to join as its inaugural member.

“The City of Lakeland has enjoyed a long history of having a community of high-quality physicians alongside its excellent hospital, Lakeland Regional Medical Center,” said Mayor Fields.  “We should celebrate the opportunity to continue building upon this history of excellence by adding nationally recognized research and education alongside our exceptional community-based health care delivery system.” 

Lakeland Regional Medical Center, with its 4,500 employees, and its active medical staff of 484 physicians, is the fifth largest hospital in Florida and operates the busiest single site Emergency Department in the entire State.  Elaine Thompson, PhD, FACHE, President and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health Systems, echoed Mayor Fields’ remarks adding, “Mayor Fields has been exceptionally supportive and insightful about the future of the region’s health care. He understands the significance of creating USF Health System, and the economic potential it brings to the City of Lakeland and our community.”

Later this month, Dr. Thompson will seek approval from the Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. Board of Directors to formally join USF Health System.  “Joining USF Health System creates a relationship for the good of the organization, our medical staff, and the community we serve,” said Bill Mutz, Chairman of Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc.  “We expect the USF Health System to be a transformational and innovative partnership that will grow to include other hospitals and physicians across the region.” 

During the next several months, Dr. Thompson will be executing an extensive communication plan to share these future plans with the community.  “We recognize that our health care delivery system is on the brink of historic change, and we are already seeing a wave of consolidations and new affiliations across the Tampa Bay and Central Florida region,” said Mayor Fields.  “By joining USF Health System, Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. will continue to strengthen and grow even better, but more importantly, the hospital will remain an asset of the City and it will continue to be led by a local Board of Directors made up of our own community leaders.”


Lakeland Electric Fuel Charge - Effective October 1, 2012

The Lakeland City Commission voted to increase the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers 50 cents per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after October 1, 2012.  The new fuel charge will be $42.80 per 1,000 kWh. 

After listening to a presentation at September 17, 2012 Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended an increase to the current fuel charge based on the slight increases for natural gas in both the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Henry Hub Spot Market.  Forecasters have implied that some wells have come off line, causing the natural gas market to increase slightly.

The Utility Committee also voted unanimously to reduce the environmental compliance charge from $2.456 per 1,000 kWh to $2.348 per 1,000 kWh. This vote was also passed by the City Commission during the September 17, 2012 meeting.  The environmental charge is calculated in the base charge below.

RESIDENTIAL RATES BASED ON 1,000 kWh

                         Current            New Rates – Effective October 1, 2012

Base Charge     $  59.42           $  59.31 (includes environmental decrease)

Fuel Charge      $  42.30           $  42.80 (includes fuel increase)

TOTAL:             $101.72            $102.11

Environmental compliance charges are directly related to federal and state initiatives regarding clean air and water mandates. Most of the expenses are related to energy production and include air emission controls, water quality monitoring and capital spending for equipment necessary to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. 

Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience in detail to show the base charge, fuel charge and appropriate taxes and service charges.  The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within your residence.  Most utilities subscribe to the same billing practice and break out the base rate and the fuel charge for their customers. There is no mark-up in fuel.  In fact, fuel is a straight pass-through to customers. 

Based on Florida Municipal Electric Association data, Lakeland Electric’s residential rates after the October 1st fuel charge increase will be the third lowest in the state for residential customers as well as the third lowest in Florida for all of the commercial rate classes.

Visit www.lakelandelectric.com for more information and to see a residential rate comparison.

 


EDGEWOOD EXTENSION OPENS SEPTEMBER 21ST - EAST/WEST CONNECTOR

EDGEWOOD EXTENSION OPENS SEPTEMBER 21ST

EAST/WEST CONNECTOR

LAKELAND, FL (September 13, 2012) – The much anticipated Edgewood Extension that connects South Florida Avenue to Harden Boulevard will officially open on Friday, September 21, 2012 during a 9 a.m. ceremony that will take place at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and the Edgewood Extension.

The public is invited to help celebrate the new roadway with a motorcade ribbon cutting after the official removal of the barricades.  Those wishing to participate are invited to enter the Edgewood Extension roadway at Harden Boulevard and travel east toward Lincoln Avenue.  There will be traffic attendants to guide participants to the right place.  The ribbon breaking motorcade will include vehicles from the Lakeland Police Department, Lakeland Fire Department, Lakeland Electric, Lakeland Water/Waste Water, Solid Waste, the Citrus Connection and those who would like to be part of the festivities.

Mayor Gow Fields said, “We have been exploring options for an east/west connector for a long time and we are very glad to have this important transportation project completed.” He added, “The new road will relieve congestion, ultimately improving transportation service including quicker police/fire/EMS response times.”

The Southwest Middle School Jazz Band will play as the motorcade heads toward South Florida Avenue and students from Southwest Middle School will cheer, officially opening the road for vehicle traffic.  The eastbound lane will open first with road workers removing all barricades in that direction followed by removal of the barricades in the west bound lanes.

The Edgewood Extension roadway project started January 1, 2012 and it will open ahead of schedule.  An east/west connector has been in the works since 2001 when the City of Lakeland had its first initial workshop on possible routes.  The total cost for the project was $19.2 million with funding coming from Polk County, the Federal Highway Administration, City of Lakeland impact fees and City of Lakeland bond revenues. The Edgewood Extension is expected to experience over 16,000 cars per day. 

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