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05/19/2008 Contact: 850-413-6482

Florida Public Service Commission Directs Hurricane Preparedness for Utilities

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) push for Florida’s electric and telecommunications companies to improve their system’s reliability and resiliency will make them better prepared for the upcoming hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

“Since the unprecedented 2004/2005 hurricane seasons, the PSC has worked with utilities to toughen Florida’s electrical and communication grids to better withstand extreme weather,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter. “Hopefully, it will be a quiet season, but we want to be prepared so that residents will have as little disruption as possible to these vital services.”

At the PSC annual hurricane readiness workshop on May 1, electric and telecommunications companies presented reports on what they have done to prepare for this year’s hurricane season.

In 2006, after several hurricane preparedness workshops with Florida’s utility companies, the PSC instituted a multi-faceted approach to strengthen the state's electric infrastructure.  The PSC ordered the utilities to conduct more frequent pole inspections, increase vegetation management, and implement additional storm-hardening initiatives. The PSC balances the need to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure with minimizing excessive cost increases to customers.

To help Florida’s residents better prepare for hurricane season, Governor Charlie Crist announced last week that he will be signing a proclamation this month declaring May 25-31, 2008, as Florida Hurricane Preparedness Week.

The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.

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