Gulf Power customers in Northwest Florida will see the final, long-awaited transition to Florida Power & Light Company as their new service provider starting Jan. 1.
Customers should be aware that service through GulfPower.com no longer will be available beginning the evening of Dec. 30. The transition to the new web experience at FPL.com will take a few days and is expected to be available starting Jan. 3.
"Our goal is to make this transition as easy and seamless for our customers as possible," said Sarah Gatewood, spokeswoman for Gulf Power.
Customers will see the new FPL logo branding on their bills, as well as company offices, service vehicles and uniforms. There could be a short period of time that both Gulf Power and FPL logos will be present during the transition.
Customers can use their existing username and password to log in and manage their account on the new FPL website. Look for "FPL Northwest Florida" at the top of the screen to know it's the correct version of the site.
The Gulf Power mobile app also no longer will be available as of Dec. 30. Customers can download the FPL mobile app beginning Jan. 3.
Anyone who anticipates a need to move their current service or establish new service during the first week of January should notify Gulf Power by Dec. 30.
Gatewood said customers can still call 1-800-487-6937 to report power outages. There will be no service disconnections or adverse impacts to account status while the customer system is down during the transition.
What customers can expect to see on their bills
An initial rate increase that was approved by the Florida Public Service Commission as part of the new four-year rate plan will take effect in January 2022. Gulf Power officials say the typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is projected to become more affordable and lower than it is today by 2025.
The new residential rates will be calculated using a tiered rate structure with one rate for energy consumption and fuel up to 1,000 kWh and another rate for consumption over that amount. Online tools are available to help customers monitor energy use and learn ways to increase energy efficiency.
Also starting in January, customers will see an additional cost on their bill because of rising fuel costs. State regulators this month approved a plan that is expected to add almost $7 a month to the bills of customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.
Along with the rate increase, customers should know a late charge will be added to bills due as of Jan. 1. The greater of $5 or 1.5% of the past due balance will apply. Some could be billed a deposit adjustment.
There are a few other changes to note when paying bills. Paper bills will look very similar and have the FPL logo on them. Electronic bills will come from FPL_eBill@billing.fpl.com. Be sure to send to add this address to the approved senders list. Payments from Auto Pay customers will be withdrawn from the bank as scheduled. To pay by phone, call 1-800-225-5797.
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The company's new hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Gatewood said customers should not hesitate to call with questions or concerns about how the transition will affect them in the new year.
"We'll be here to help them through every step in the process," Gatewood said.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Gulf Power transitions Jan. 1 to Florida Power & Light. What to know.