Florida PSC Helps Consumers Prepare and Quickly Recover from Storms
More than a decade has passed since the last hurricane impacted Florida. As Floridians, we know it’s just a matter of time before another storm strikes our shores. Since 1851, the top three states for hurricane landfalls are Florida (114), Texas (63) and Louisiana (54), according to data from the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami (Source: USA Today--June 18, 2014).
Since we live in the number one state for hurricane landfalls, the Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) storm preparation is ongoing.
With hurricane season beginning on June 1, our top priority is that the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are adequately prepared. Through established PSC storm hardening rules, we ensure that utilities can maintain electric grid safety during hurricanes and other natural disasters.
It’s paramount that business and communities can return to normal as soon as possible after a storm, and that requires quick power restoration. With businesses and residents also increasingly more reliant on electricity-driven technology, quick storm restoration is even more important after extreme weather events when residents are most vulnerable.
Florida’s utilities have taken extraordinary steps to strengthen our state’s energy infrastructure, since the tumultuous 2004-2005 hurricane seasons. Beginning in 2006, the PSC required the state’s IOUs to implement an aggressive vegetation management cycle for all major distribution circuits and incorporate a transmission inspection program and an eight-year inspection cycle for all wooden poles. Some utilities have replaced wooden poles with concrete poles that can withstand 140-mile-per-hour winds.
Each spring at the PSC Hurricane Preparedness Workshop, Florida’s major electric and telecommunication companies present their storm hardening efforts to protect transmission and distribution facilities, including vegetation management; maintenance and repairs; and coordination with other utilities, government, and community groups. These comprehensive, year-round storm plans by Florida’s utilities is a commitment to their customers. When storms do occur, we know the utilities’ preparation will minimize electrical outages and expedite response times to help communities quickly recover.
Demonstrating storm preparation begins at the top. In April, the CEOs of Florida’s five IOUs appeared before the Commission, sharing their plans to maintain electric grid safety during hurricanes and other natural disasters. The presentations focused on how each utility addresses customer needs during, and after, stormrelated events throughout the State of Florida. Presentations by Eric Silagy, Florida Power & Light Company; Alex Glenn, Duke Energy Florida, LLC; Gordon Gillette, Tampa Electric Company; Stan Connally, Gulf Power Company; and Jeff Householder, Florida Public Utilities Company can be found here.
Leo Lachat, State Emergency Response Team Chief, also updated us on the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s coordination with Florida utilities in storm preparation and restoration. During state emergencies, the PSC provides 24/7 staffing for Emergency Support Function-12 at the Emergency Operations Center, coordinating electric and natural gas responses and providing information and assistance to federal and state agencies.
The PSC makes storm safety a top priority, and we want you to do the same. Florida has grown by 2.5 million people since we last faced a hurricane’s full wrath. Many new residents may be unprepared for the winds and surges of water that come with a direct hit and they may not be used to boarding up their windows or evacuating their homes.
The PSC has tools to help consumers prepare for, and quickly recover from, any possible storms.Hurricane Season Preparationis the first item under Hot Topics on our website. I hope you will take a look and get prepared!
By using the PSC’s onlineHurricane House, in English and Spanish, you can make storm preparation a fun, family endeavor. Click on each room or item to learn 19 tips to prepare your family and your home for severe weather, from planning an evacuation route, to installing carbon monoxide detectors and dealing with downed power lines. The PSC’s website also features aconsumer tipthat details how to make a hurricane kit, as well as a storm preparationconsumer tip. Like the Scout motto says, be prepared!
PSC on the Road
This month, the PSC will hold nine service hearings for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) customers. If you are an FPL customer, I encourage you to come and talk to us about FPL’s petition to increase its rates (Docket No. 160021) or about FPL’s quality of service. All five Commissioners will attend the hearings, and customer feedback becomes a part of the record that we review before making any decision. For more information about the hearings, please visit the PSC’s website or call our toll-free line, 1-800-342-3552.
Electric Industry Docket No. 20160021 01/15/2016 - Petition for rate increase by Florida Power & Light Company.
Docket No. 20160056 03/09/2016 - Joint petition to reopen and extend the term of existing territorial agreement in Columbia, Lafayette, Madison, and Suwannee Counties, by Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative and Duke Energy Florida, LLC.
Docket No. 20160061 03/15/2016 - Petition for approval of 2016-2018 storm hardening plan, by Florida Power & Light Company.
Docket No. 20160062 03/15/2016 - 2016 depreciation and dismantlement study by Florida Power & Light Company.
Docket No. 20160088 04/15/2016 - Petition for limited proceeding to modify and continue incentive mechanism, by Florida Power & Light Company.
Gas Industry Docket No. 20150259 12/07/2015 - Initiation of show cause proceedings against Peoples Gas System for apparent violations of Sections 368.01 - 05, F.S., and Chapter 25-12, F.A.C.
Docket No. 20160029 02/04/2016 - Petition by Peoples Gas System for approval of special contract with United Parcel Service, Inc.
Telecommunications Industry Docket No. 20150180 08/10/2015 - Application for certificate to provide local telecommunications service by BeCruising Telecom LLC d/b/a Becru.
Docket No. 20160026 01/26/2016 - Application for certificate to provide local telecommunications service by Sonic Systems, Inc. d/b/a Sonic Systems, Inc. of Maryland.
Wastewater Industry Docket No. 20150071 03/03/2015 - Application for increase in wastewater rates in Monroe County by K W Resort Utilities Corp.
May / June Notable FPSC Orders
Electric Industry Order No. PSC-2016-0182-PCO-EI
♦ Docket No:
05/04/2016 - First Order PSC-16-0182-PCO-EI revising order establishing procedure and granting motion to consolidate Dockets 160021, 160061, 160062 and 160088 for all purposes; Order PSC-16-0125-PCO-EI is reaffirmed to the extent not inconsistent with this order.
Order No. PSC-2016-0188-PCO-EI
♦ Docket No:
05/09/2016 - Order PSC-16-0188-PCO-EI suspending FPL's request for permanent rate increase and associated tarriffs; docket to remain open pending final determination.
Order No. PSC-2016-0193-PAA-EU
♦ Docket No:
05/17/2016 - PAA Order PSC-16-0193-PAA-EU reopening the existing territorial
agreement between Suwannee Valley and Duke Energy; if no protest, order to become final and effective upon issuance of CO, docket shall be closed; protest due 6/7/16.
Gas Industry Order No. PSC-2016-0205-AS-GU
♦ Docket No:
05/19/2016 - Final Order PSC-16-0205-AS-GU approving joint settlement between PGS, OPC and FPSC; PGS shall submit a penalty payment in the amount of $1,000,000 to the FPSC within 30 days of approval of the Settlement Agreement; PGS shall issue a one-time credit in the amount of $2,000,000 to customers subject to its Cast Iron/Bare Steel Replacement Rider; upon receipt of PGS's petition for approval of 2017 monthly surcharges and payments, docket to be closed administratively.
Telecommunications Industry Order No. PSC-2016-0187-CO-TX
♦ Docket No:
05/09/2016 - Consummating Order PSC-16-0187-CO-TX makes Order PSC-16-0144-PAA-TX effective and final; docket shall be closed.
Order No. PSC-2016-0206-CO-TX
♦ Docket No:
05/20/2016 - Consummating Order PSC-16-0206-CO-TX makes Order PSC-16-0161-PAA-TX effective and final; docket shall be closed.