2010 Florida Statutes
Rates; procedure for fixing and changing.
Rates; procedure for fixing and changing.—
A public utility shall not, directly or indirectly, charge or receive any rate not on file with the commission for the particular class of service involved, and no change shall be made in any schedule. All applications for changes in rates shall be made to the commission in writing under rules and regulations prescribed, and the commission shall have the authority to determine and fix fair, just, and reasonable rates that may be requested, demanded, charged, or collected by any public utility for its service. The commission shall investigate and determine the actual legitimate costs of the property of each utility company, actually used and useful in the public service, and shall keep a current record of the net investment of each public utility company in such property which value, as determined by the commission, shall be used for ratemaking purposes and shall be the money honestly and prudently invested by the public utility company in such property used and useful in serving the public, less accrued depreciation, and shall not include any goodwill or going-concern value or franchise value in excess of payment made therefor. In fixing fair, just, and reasonable rates for each customer class, the commission shall, to the extent practicable, consider the cost of providing service to the class, as well as the rate history, value of service, and experience of the public utility; the consumption and load characteristics of the various classes of customers; and public acceptance of rate structures.
Whenever the commission finds, upon request made or upon its own motion, that the rates demanded, charged, or collected by any public utility for public utility service, or that the rules, regulations, or practices of any public utility affecting such rates, are unjust, unreasonable, unjustly discriminatory, or in violation of law; that such rates are insufficient to yield reasonable compensation for the services rendered; that such rates yield excessive compensation for services rendered; or that such service is inadequate or cannot be obtained, the commission shall order and hold a public hearing, giving notice to the public and to the public utility, and shall thereafter determine just and reasonable rates to be thereafter charged for such service and promulgate rules and regulations affecting equipment, facilities, and service to be thereafter installed, furnished, and used.
Pending a final order by the commission in any rate proceeding under this section, the commission may withhold consent to the operation of all or any portion of the new rate schedules, delivering to the utility requesting such increase, within 60 days, a reason or written statement of good cause for withholding its consent. Such consent shall not be withheld for a period longer than 8 months from the date of filing the new schedules. The new rates or any portion not consented to shall go into effect under bond or corporate undertaking at the end of such period, but the commission shall, by order, require such public utility to keep accurate account in detail of all amounts received by reason of such increase, specifying by whom and in whose behalf such amounts were paid and, upon completion of hearing and final decision in such proceeding, shall by further order require such public utility to refund with interest at a fair rate, to be determined by the commission in such manner as it may direct, such portion of the increased rate or charge as by its decision shall be found not justified. Any portion of such refund not thus refunded to patrons or customers of the public utility shall be refunded or disposed of by the public utility as the commission may direct; however, no such funds shall accrue to the benefit of the public utility. The commission shall take final commission action in the docket and enter its final order within 12 months of the commencement date for final agency action. As used in this subsection, the “commencement date for final agency action” means the date upon which it has been determined by the commission or its designee that the utility has filed with the clerk the minimum filing requirements as established by rule of the commission. Within 30 days after receipt of the application, rate request, or other written document for which the commencement date for final agency action is to be established, the commission or its designee shall either determine the commencement date for final agency action or issue a statement of deficiencies to the applicant, specifically listing why said applicant has failed to meet the minimum filing requirements. Such statement of deficiencies shall be binding upon the commission to the extent that, once the deficiencies in the statement are satisfied, the commencement date for final agency action shall be promptly established as provided herein. Thereafter, within 15 days after the applicant indicates to the commission that it believes that it has met the minimum filing requirements, the commission or its designee shall either determine the commencement date for final agency action or specifically enumerate in writing why the requirements have not been met, in which case this procedure shall be repeated until the commencement date for final agency action is established. When the commission initiates a proceeding, the commencement date for final agency action shall be the date upon which the order initiating the proceeding is issued.
A natural gas utility or a public electric utility whose annual sales to end-use customers amount to less than 500 gigawatt hours may specifically request the commission to process its petition for rate relief using the agency’s proposed agency action procedure, as prescribed by commission rule. The commission shall enter its vote on the proposed agency action within 5 months of the commencement date for final agency action. If the commission’s proposed action is protested, the final decision must be rendered by the commission within 8 months of the date the protest is filed. At the expiration of 5 months following the commencement date for final agency action, if the commission has not taken action or if the commission’s action is protested by a party other than the utility, the utility may place its requested rates into effect under bond, escrow, or corporate undertaking subject to refund, upon notice to the commission and upon filing the appropriate tariffs. The utility must keep accurate records of amounts received as provided by subsection (3).
s. 6, ch. 26545, 1951; s. 4, ch. 74-195; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 7, 16, ch. 80-35; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 8, 20, 22, ch. 89-292; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 5, ch. 93-35; s. 5, ch. 95-328.