The Public Service Commission was
originally created to regulate the
railroad industry in Florida.
The PSC, created by the Florida Legislature in 1887, was originally called the Florida
Railroad Commission. The primary purpose of the Commission was the regulation of
railroad passenger and freight rates and operations. The Legislature abolished the
Commission in 1891, but re-established it in 1897.
As Florida's population grew and its industry base diversified, the Legislature
conferred upon the Commission additional responsibilities. These ever changing charges
include periods of both regulatory expansion and deregulation. Regulatory authority
over various industries began as follows:
1911 Telephone & Telegraph
1929 Motor Carrier Transportation
1951 Investor-Owned Electrics
1952 Natural Gas
1959 Water and Wastewater
In 1974 the Legislature gave the Commission rate structure jurisdiction over municipal
and rural cooperative electric utilities. Due to deregulation, the Commission lost
jurisdiction over airlines in 1978. In 1980, motor carriers were deregulated; five
years later, railroads were deregulated. The Commission received safety jurisdiction
over all electric utilities in 1986. And in 1995, legislation was approved allowing
competition for local exchange telephone service.
In 2011, legislation was approved that reduced the Commission’s jurisdiction over the telecommunications industry. The Commission retains the authority to ensure that incumbent local exchange carriers meet their obligation to provide unbundled access, interconnection, and resale to competitive local exchange companies in a nondiscriminatory manner. And, the Commission oversees the federal Lifeline Assistance program in Florida, and the administration of a statewide telecommunications access system to provide Telecommunications Relay Services for the deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech impaired.