New rules proposed today by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) will facilitate strengthening electric utility infrastructure to better withstand severe storm impacts. The rules require utilities to create ten-year storm protection plans to reduce restoration costs and outage times associated with extreme weather events.
Florida’s investor owned utilities (IOUs) must submit their storm protection plans to the PSC for review and approval. The PSC is also required to provide an annual report on the status of the IOUs’ storm protection activities to the Governor and the Legislature.
“Utilities’ investment in storm hardening strengthens Florida’s grid to reduce power outages and speed restoration after a storm,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “The proposed storm protection plan rules will further protect Florida’s consumers, including those most vulnerable.”
Florida’s IOUs already have storm hardening programs financed through a utility's base rate. The new rules establish a separate cost recovery mechanism for storm protection activities. IOUs may seek Commission approval to recover these costs annually, similar to their request for fuel cost recovery.
In reviewing a utility’s storm protection plan, the rules require the PSC to consider four criteria:
• Reduction in restoration costs and outage times;
• Feasibility, reasonableness, or practicality of storm protection in certain service territory areas;
• Estimated costs and benefits to the utility and its customers; and
• Estimated annual rate impact during the first three years.
Proposed rules are required by October 31, 2019, as outlined in the storm protection plan cost recovery bill (SB 796), passed by the 2019 Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
If the Commission’s Order receives no requests for hearing, the rules will be filed with the Department of State for adoption.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.