Hurricane Irma: What We Know and What We Need to Know!
Florida's utilities have just restored power to millions of customers affected by Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.
In fact, 2017 marks the first time in over a century that 10 consecutive Atlantic storms reached hurricane strength.
While we hope that Florida escapes another storm event, there is about a month remaining in the 2017 hurricane season. As the State continues
to recover from Irma, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) wants consumers to remember to stay prepared.
Irma was much bigger than Andrew that devastated southwest Florida as a Category 5 hurricane in 1992. At her peak, Irma's sustained winds
were 185 miles per hour, and she cut power to almost two-thirds of Florida's utility customers. We experienced first-hand what it meant to be
hot and in the dark while witnessing devastated homes and businesses, streets littered with debris, and downed trees. As Governor Rick Scott
promised after Irma hit, "We will not stop until 100% of power has been restored."
Now, we want to hear from customers about their power restoration time and how utility information was provided before, during, and after the storm.
Customer comments will be extremely valuable as part of the Commission's ongoing review of utility hurricane preparedness and restoration actions.
Customers can click on a link easily located on the PSC's homepage,
www.floridapsc.com, and submit their comments.
The PSC plans to review utilities' hurricane preparedness and restoration actions, exploring the potential to further minimize
infrastructure damage that results in outages. A docket
(#20170215) was established to collect and analyze forensic data on the utilities'
transmission and distribution facilities to discern the type and cause of damage. This extensive data collection and detailed analysis will
include a workshop on hurricane preparedness with input from all electric utilities and stakeholders, including comments submitted by customers.
Upon the conclusion of data collection and analysis, and consideration of public comment, the Commission will consider options for immediate action.
During Irma, PSC staff manned Florida's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ESF 12 Power, working around-the-clock to help coordinate with utilities
to get families, businesses, and communities back to normal. Collaboration between utilities throughout Florida and other states meant tens of
thousands of workers were on-the-ground helping speed restoration efforts as quickly and safely as possible. We should all be grateful for the
massive collaboration across the country to help with the restoration efforts and for Governor Scott's leadership during
this trying time in Florida's history.
The hardest thing for us to remember is that utilities must first restore power to critical facilities and to the largest number of customers
as safely and as quickly as possible. When you're without power, it's difficult to remember that your utility is doing the best it can to
restore power to everyone.
I am proud of the PSC's hurricane recovery contributions. During Irma's aftermath, not only were PSC employees working in the EOC
to make sure accurate power outage/restoration reports were released to the public, but other employees spent hours managing or
manning Florida's Emergency Information Line to provide residents with appropriate shelter, evacuation route,
and other storm-related information.
The old adage, Be Prepared, never gets old! For us, hurricane preparation starts well in advance of a storm. The PSC holds
annual hurricane preparedness workshops, usually in the spring, where utilities present their preparedness plans for the upcoming hurricane season.
This year, Florida's electric utilities and the Division of Emergency Management updated the PSC on their storm preparation efforts in April.
(Copies of their presentations are here.)
Utility storm plans are designed to minimize electrical outages and help communities, businesses, and families return to normalcy
as quickly as possible. The plans include PSC-mandated storm preparedness initiatives; facility inspections; maintenance and repairs;
flooding and storm surge mitigation; wooden pole inspections; and coordination with other utilities, government, and community groups.
Still, with a storm of Irma's magnitude, damage was unavoidable, even with the best preparations.
Please remember to visit our website and submit your comments to help ensure storm preparedness continues to improve in Florida.
Your comments and the data collected from utilities' storm preparedness and restoration activities will provide valuable information
for future storm seasons.
Electric Industry Docket No. 20170212 10/02/2017 - Petition for one-year extension of voluntary solar partnership rider and program, by Florida Power & Light Company.
Docket No. 20170215 10/03/2017 - Review of electric utility hurricane preparedness and restoration actions.
Telecommunications Industry Docket No. 20170211 10/02/2017 - Application for certificate to provide local telecommunications service by Citadel Design and Construction, LLC.
Wastewater Industry Docket No. 20170223 10/16/2017 - Application for establishment of wastewater allowance for funds prudently invested (AFPI) charges in Highlands, Lake, Marion, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, by Utilities, Inc. of Florida.
Water and Wastewater Industry Docket No. 20170218 10/10/2017 - Application for staff-assisted rate case in Polk County by Grenelefe Resort Utility, Inc.
Docket No. 20170219 10/10/2017 - Application for staff-assisted rate case in Polk County by River Ranch Water Management, L.L.C.
September / October Notable FPSC Orders
Electric Industry Order No. PSC-2017-0384-PCO-EI
♦ Docket No:
10/04/2017 - Order PSC-2017-0384-PCO-EI granting TECO’s petition for limited proceeding to approve 2017 amended and restated stipulation and settlement agreement; establishing procedure and setting procedural schedule.
Order No. PSC-2017-0392-CO-EI
♦ Docket No:
10/16/2017 - Consummating Order PSC-2017-0392-CO-EI makes Order PSC-2017-0356-TRF-EI effective and final; docket to be closed.
Gas Industry Order No. PSC-2017-0390-PAA-GU
♦ Docket No:
10/13/2017 - PAA Order PSC-2017-0390-PAA-GU approving Chesapeake’s special contract with Sebring; if no protest, order to become final and effective on issuance of CO; if order becomes final, docket to be closed; protest due 11/3/17.
Generic Dockets Order No. PSC-2017-0382-NOR-OT
♦ Docket No:
10/04/2017 - Order PSC-2017-0382-NOR-OT noticing repeal of Rules 25-22.107, rulemaking proceeding – adoptions, and 25-22.039, intervention, and the amendment of Rules 25-22.060, motion for reconsideration of final orders, and 28-40.001, exceptions to the uniform rules of procedure, FAC; attached notices of proposed rules appeared in the 10/4/17 FAR; if timely requested, a hearing will be held at a time and place to be announced in a future notice; written requests for hearing and written comments on the rules must be received no later than 10/25/17.
Wastewater Industry Order No. PSC-2017-0383-PAA-SU
♦ Docket No:
10/04/2017 - PAA Order PSC-2017-0383-PAA-SU approving rate increase for Beaches and final order on recovery of rate case expenses, temporary rates and accounting adjustments; docket to remain open for staff's verification that the revised tariff sheets and customer notices have been filed by Beaches and approved by staff; Beaches to submit a letter confirming that the adjustments for all applicable NARUC USOA primary accounts have been made; Commission to address Phase II of docket; order to become final and effective upon issuance of CO; protest due 10/25/17.