Lakeland, Florida, June 10, 2020 – Lakeland Electric earned the 2020 Energy Innovator Award (EIA) from the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program. The EIA award honors utilities that have developed or applied creative, energy-efficient techniques and technologies. Awards recognize creativity, resource efficiency, benefits to utility customers, transferability, and project scope in relation to utility size. The award was presented virtually during APPA’s Public Power Connect Virtual Summit.

The Damage Assessment Restoration Toolset (DARTS) was designed by Lakeland Electric and City of Lakeland employees. It utilizes existing Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Geographic Information System applications in conjunction with customized dashboards developed in-house, to create an easy mobile solution for all facets of damage assessment and data collection. DARTS captures location, image and expense data required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for cost reimbursement utilizing a built-in program manager application to coordinate and update collections. The entire platform works in conjunction with GIS data and maps and is integrated with Lakeland Electric’s workforce management products to coordinate work orders and employee time. The toolset works on any mobile device, with or without wi-fi or wireless networks, to enable field crews to input real-time damage assessment information while at the worksite.

“Lakeland Electric is honored to receive this award,” said Joel Ivy, Lakeland Electric General Manager. “We’re proud of our employee’s innovation, expertise, and their commitment to improving our customer’s quality of life. We know that restoring power quickly following storm events matters to our customers. This tool helps us get the right resources to the right locations quickly and it streamlines our data collection to help us keep recovery costs low.”

The Lakeland Electric Damage Assessment Restoration Toolset has been featured in the Florida Municipal Electric Association’s Relay magazine, APPA’s Public Power Daily, Lakeland’s The Ledger newspaper, Government Technology magazine, WFTS ABC Action News Tampa Bay, Polk County Government TV and on ESRI’s website. The application has also received praise from City of Lakeland elected officials.

About American Public Power Association: The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. We represent public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. Our association advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations. Our members strengthen their communities by providing superior service, engaging citizens, and instilling pride in community-owned power.

 About Lakeland Electric: Lakeland Electric is the third-largest public power utility in the State of Florida, serving 131,000 customers with production capability of over 1100 Megawatts. The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida, having started operation in 1889 and then purchased by the City of Lakeland in 1904. Today Lakeland Electric’s 246 square mile territory serves the City of Lakeland and its environs with affordable, dependable, and sustainable electric power.



EFFECTIVE July 2, 2020

LAKELAND, Fla. (June 5, 2020) – The Lakeland City Commission voted Monday, June 1, to increase the electric fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers for the next fiscal quarter (July/August/September 2020). After giving a presentation at the Utility Committee meeting on Monday, June 1, staff recommended increasing the fuel charge by $8.00 from $20.00 per 1,000 kilowatt-hour (kWh) to $28.00 per 1,000 kWh. This recommendation was expected following the emergency fuel rate adjustment made during May and June to provide temporary emergency relief to customers in the midst of the COVID-19 stay at home order. The new fuel charge will continue the utility’s effort to return to our target fuel reserve balance this fiscal year.

The fuel charge will change to 2.8¢ per kWh. Multiplying the fuel charge by 1,000 kWh, the amount an average residential home utilizes in a month, the cost equals $28.00 per 1,000 kWh for fuel.

Lakeland Electric continues to have some of the lowest electric rates in the state. As with most electric utilities that generate their own power, the cost of fuel is passed directly to customers. This makes the fuel charge an important part of Lakeland Electric’s ongoing effort to keep our customer’s electric costs low.

Residential Rates Based on 1,000 kWh Current Rates – Effective July 2020
Base Charge* (see below for a breakdown of charges) $64.77 $64.77
Fuel Charge              $20.00 $28.00
TOTAL: $84.77 $92.77
 *Base Charge
Customer Charge $  11.00/month
Energy & Smart Grid Charges $50.99/1000 kWh
Environmental Charge $  2.78/1000 kWh




Scholarship named for departing Trustee creates opportunity for African American students

LAKELAND, Fla. – A new scholarship named for Florida Polytechnic University Trustee Frank T. Martin is designed to provide more opportunity to African American students and help them achieve their STEM career ambitions.

The Frank T. Martin Single Year Scholarship was established through the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) and will be available to African American students pursuing a degree in engineering, transportation, computer science, or data analytics. Students will need to attend Florida Poly, Tennessee State University, or Fisk University, a historically black university in Nashville, Tennessee. Martin earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees at the latter two institutions.

“The purpose of this scholarship is for persons of color to have better representation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields,” Martin said. “It is a way to increase their credentials and become skilled professionals, fully prepared to compete for high-paying jobs.”

Martin has worked tirelessly for decades to improve higher education and public transportation. He is an inaugural Florida Poly Trustee and former member the Florida Board of Governors. Currently, he is the executive director and CEO of the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority in Birmingham, Alabama, and president of Frank T. Martin Consult, LLC.

Martin has been involved in shaping Florida Poly’s future from its earliest days. And although he ends his tenure on the Board of Trustees on July 15, he is committed to continue making an impact by helping others pursue their educational goals.

“Education is the key to open the door,” said Martin, who previously served on the APTF board and the board of directors of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). “I want to make sure that we provide opportunities for African Americans to get the undergraduate and graduate degrees with the right skills and education they’ll need to succeed.”

Martin said he is proud of his service to the higher education and transportation bodies on which he has served over the years.

“I call it paying civic rent – getting involved in organizations throughout my professional career,” he said. “It’s always been something I’ve done and it’s something that can make a difference within a community.”

Don Wilson, chair of the Florida Poly Board of Trustees, said Martin’s support and contributions to the University’s future are invaluable.

“Frank and I served together as Florida Poly Trustees for eight years and his longstanding commitment to the Board has been tremendous,” Wilson said. “We are deeply grateful for his impactful work for the University, and know his expertise and leadership in education has paved the way for students throughout the state to have better opportunities and future success.”

ATPF is accepting monetary contributions to the Frank T. Martin Single Year Scholarship. Click here to learn more. Interested students can apply here.

For the most recent university news, visit Florida Poly News.

About Florida Polytechnic University: Florida Polytechnic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is a member of the State University System of Florida. It is the only state university dedicated exclusively to STEM and offers ABET accredited degrees. Florida Poly is a powerful economic engine within the state of Florida, blending applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. Connect with Florida Poly.



Saint Leo University Offering Free, 4-Part Webinar Series: Business Reimagined

College of Business Faculty, Tampa-area Experts to Help Businesses

                 Recover from COVID-19 Pandemic Economic Woes

  1. LEO, FL – Businesses are navigating the re-opening of the economy following shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemics. To assist those facing challenges and looking for new opportunities, Saint Leo University will a free, four-part webinar series, Business Reimagined: Insights for Small Businesses in the COVID-19 Landscape, for Tampa-area businesses beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 20.

The webinars are designed for business owners, managers, and others who need expert advice and insight to restart, reposition, or reimagine their organization. Saint Leo University faculty, members of the Tampa Turnaround Management Association and other regional industry experts will provide operational, financial, human capital, and strategy guidance for small businesses at no cost.

“Small businesses have been hard hit by the pandemic and many are reimagining their businesses as they re-enter the economy.” said Dr. Robyn Parker, dean of Saint Leo’s Tapia College of Business. “They want to reopen, but many recognize the environment is different now, and to be successful they need to find the opportunities dramatic change creates. Through this webinar series, we hope to provide thought-provoking assistance and resources to point businesses and organizations in the right direction for success.”

Business Reimagined sessions will be approximately 90-minutes each, conducted in a panelist discussion format via Zoom, and there will be time for questions and answers as well as the potential for continued engagement. Participants are welcome to attend one or all webinars; however, participants must register for each session they would like to attend.

Scheduled sessions are:

  • The COVID-19 Factor: An Overview of How COVID-19 is Impacting Businesses, 11 a.m., Saturday, June 20
  • Addressing the Pandemic Recession: HR, Business Operations, and Supply Chain Impact, 11 a.m., Saturday, June 27;
  • Your Business Model: Strategic Direction for Pandemic Recession Recovery, 11 a.m., Saturday, July 11; and,
  • Financial Frenzy: Financial Options and Resources Related to COVID-19, 11 a.m., Saturday, July 18. .

While the seminars are free, organizers are encouraging attendees to donate to COVID-19 relief efforts.

“Saint Leo and the College of Business wanted to do something to give back to the community,” Parker said. “’Community’ is one of Saint Leo’s core values, and we thoroughly embrace the idea of helping others. We hope that businesses and organizations will take advantage of these free sessions.”

Register at https://www.saintleo.edu/business-events.

For more information, email Kim.Bulmanski@saintleo.edu.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 19,500 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 32 education centers in seven states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 95,000 alumni. Learn more at saintleo.edu.


Mid Florida Community Services, Inc., Partners with Local Restaurants to Provide Meals to Seniors

(Brooksville, FL June 4, 2020) Mid Florida Community Services, Inc., has received meal funding from the Families First Act and the CARES Act which were passed by Congress.  This funding is allowing local service providers, such as Mid Florida Community Services, Inc. (MFCS), to serve more meals to hungry, low-income seniors over the age of 60 who are in need or are homebound because of COVID-19.

In an effort to address these needs, MFCS is pleased to announce our partnership with The Main Street Eatery in Brooksville (Hernando County) and Black and Brew Coffee House and Bistro in Lakeland (Polk County). This has not only been a big win for our seniors, but also for the local economy as it has helped put people back to work.

“Older adults are such an important part of our communities.  I value these adults and I am proud to serve them through our Senior Services Program in Hernando, Sumter, Lake, and Polk Counties”, said Michael Georgini, CEO of MFCS.  “I can’t thank these local restaurants enough for partnering with us to serve seniors in their communities.”

For more information on MFCS’ Senior Services Restaurant Initiative Program, please call 352-796-1426.