CS/HB 879 — Unlawful Acquisition of Utility Services
by Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and Rep. Burgess and others (CS/CS/SB 776 by Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee; Criminal Justice Committee; and Senator Baxley)
This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.
Prepared by: Criminal Justice Committee (CJ)
The bill revises provisions relating to utility theft as follows:
- Requires a court to include certain specified amounts in its order for civil damages or restitution related to the theft and labor costs.
- Allows the state to make a prima facie showing of the estimated losses of unlawfully obtained electric services based on any methodology reasonably relied upon by utilities.
- Allows the methodology to consider the estimated start date of the theft and the estimated daily or hourly use of electricity.
- Provides specified criteria to determine the estimated start date of the theft and the estimated daily or hourly use of electricity.
- Requires that once the state has made a prima facie showing the burden shifts to the defendant to demonstrate that the loss is something other than that claimed by the utility.
- Allows the court to order a defendant to pay restitution for damages to the property of a utility or for the theft of electricity for criminal offenses that are causally connected to the utility theft.
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect October 1, 2017.
Vote: Senate 38-0; House 119-0