ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Feb. 20, 2002 -- Florida Power President and CEO Bill Habermeyer today outlined the company's plan to improve customer satisfaction, reliability, and operations over the next three years.
Last year, Florida Power began laying the groundwork to reduce customer rates, improve reliability, enhance customer service and increase generating capacity through a new strategic plan.
"Customer service is the top priority at Florida Power, but we understand that we are not where we need to be," said Habermeyer. "Since becoming part of Progress Energy, Florida Power has spent the past year building a new culture focused on teamwork and customer service. Our goal now is to increase customer satisfaction to a much higher level."
Florida Power's plan includes four key focus areas for customers:
* Lower rates -- The utility lowered rates January 1, and it proposes reducing customer rates an additional $75 million during the next 15 years, including an immediate rate reduction of $5 million. In 2004, customers will receive a further reduction of $37 million in lower rates as the result of the full amortization of the Tiger Bay cogeneration facility, purchased in 1997.
* Improved reliability -- Today, the average number of minutes customers are without power on an annual basis is 89.7 minutes, down from 100 minutes last year. The company's goal is to reduce that number to 80 minutes by 2004. To accomplish a further reduction to 80 minutes by 2004, the utility plans to invest more than $100 million over the next three years in system reliability. The utility plans to make use of new service technologies such as real time information exchange between line dispatchers and field crews, and build several new operating centers across its service territory.
* Customer service enhancements -- The utility has added 150 new pay locations, offering expanded hours and some around-the-clock bill payment services. Other service enhancements allow customers to view and pay their bills online, and a toll-free outage number and 1,000 additional phone lines will help restore power more quickly during outages.
* Increased generating capacity -- The utility will increase generation capacity reserve margin from 15 percent to 20 percent by 2003. The company invested $80 million in 286 megawatts (MW) of new peaking capacity at its Intercession City plant that began operation earlier this year and will invest an additional $200 million in a new 567MW combined cycle power plant at the Hines Energy Complex that will begin commercial operation in late 2003.
"We're going to measure our performance using industry standards, benchmarking, and widely accepted customer satisfaction measures," said Habermeyer. "We've spent considerable time listening to customer feedback, and as we continue to improve we will seek further input on our efforts."
While Florida Power's external goals center on customer satisfaction, the company will also focus considerable effort enhancing employee satisfaction, which Habermeyer sees as a key element in improved overall performance.
"To be an outstanding customer service-driven company, we must build from the inside-out," said Habermeyer. "We must enhance job satisfaction, increase training, ensure the safest workplace possible, and challenge our employees to always think in terms of how we can best serve our customers."
Florida Power, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, provides electricity and related services to more than 1.4 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing over 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, as well as the central Florida area surrounding Orlando. For more information about Florida Power, visit the company's Web site at: http://www.fpc.com.