Florida Senate - 2019                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 796
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology (Gruters)
       recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 366.96, Florida Statutes, is created to
    6  read:
    7         366.96Storm protection plan cost recovery.—
    8         (1)The Legislature finds that:
    9         (a)During extreme weather conditions, high winds can cause
   10  vegetation and debris to blow into and damage electrical
   11  transmission and distribution facilities, resulting in power
   12  outages.
   13         (b)A majority of the power outages that occurred during
   14  the recent extreme weather conditions in the state were caused
   15  by vegetation blown by the wind.
   16         (c)It is in the public interest to promote overhead
   17  hardening of electrical transmission and distribution
   18  facilities, the undergrounding of certain electrical
   19  distribution lines, and vegetation management in this state.
   20         (d)Protecting and strengthening transmission and
   21  distribution electric utility infrastructure from extreme
   22  weather conditions will reduce restoration costs and outage
   23  times to customers and improve overall service reliability for
   24  customers.
   25         (e)When considering costs, reliability, storm protection
   26  and restoration, and the public convenience, it is in the
   27  state’s best interest that utilities focus primarily on
   28  distribution laterals when undergrounding electric distribution
   29  lines.
   30         (f)It is in the public interest for each utility to
   31  mitigate additional costs to utility customers when developing
   32  transmission and distribution storm hardening plans.
   33         (g)All customers benefit the reduced costs of storm
   34  restoration.
   35         (2)As used in this section, the term:
   36         (a)“Transmission and distribution storm protection plan”
   37  or “plan” means a plan for the overhead hardening of electric
   38  transmission and distribution facilities, undergrounding of
   39  electric distribution facilities, and increased vegetation
   40  management.
   41         (b)“Transmission and distribution storm protection plan
   42  costs” means the reasonable and prudent costs to implement an
   43  approved transmission and distribution storm protection plan.
   44         (c)“Vegetation management” means the actions a public
   45  utility takes to prevent or curtail vegetation from interfering
   46  with public utility infrastructure. The term includes the mowing
   47  of vegetation, application of herbicides, trimming of trees, and
   48  removal of trees or brush near and around electric transmission
   49  and distribution facilities.
   50         (3)Each public utility shall file for commission review,
   51  as part of its storm hardening plan required by the commission
   52  under s. 366.04(2)(c), a transmission and distribution storm
   53  protection plan that covers 30 years. The commission must
   54  approve or modify the plan within 6 months after the public
   55  utility files the plan with the commission. The commission must
   56  give due consideration to whether:
   57         (a)The plan enhances reliability, strengthens
   58  infrastructure, and reduces restoration costs and outage times
   59  in a prudent, practical and cost-efficient manner. The plan
   60  should prioritize areas in order to generate the highest impact
   61  on system resiliency and efficiency and should focus on areas
   62  with large numbers of customers, high frequency outages, and
   63  lengthy outages.
   64         (b)Storm protection of transmission and distribution
   65  infrastructure is feasible, reasonable, or practical in certain
   66  areas of the utility’s service territory, including in flood
   67  zones and rural areas.
   68         (4)Each public utility must submit an updated transmission
   69  and distribution storm protection plan at least every 3 years
   70  after commission approval of its most recent plan.
   71         (5)(a)The commission shall conduct an annual proceeding to
   72  allow a public utility to justify and recover transmission and
   73  distribution storm protection plan costs through a storm
   74  protection cost recovery clause.
   75         (b)Action taken by a public utility for storm protection
   76  of transmission and distribution facilities pursuant to a
   77  commission-approved plan is deemed prudent, but a party may
   78  challenge the commission’s determination of prudence.
   79         (6)The annual transmission and distribution storm
   80  protection plan costs recoverable through the storm protection
   81  cost recovery clause must be stated separately from the public
   82  utility’s base rates and must be allocated to customer classes
   83  pursuant to the rate design most recently approved by the
   84  commission.
   85         (7)If a capital expenditure cost is recoverable through a
   86  storm protection cost recovery clause, the public utility may
   87  recover the annual depreciation on such cost, calculated at the
   88  public utility’s current approved depreciation rates, and a
   89  return on the depreciated balance of the costs calculated at the
   90  public utility’s weighted average cost of capital using the
   91  return on equity last approved by the commission in a rate case
   92  or settlement order.
   93         (8)The commission shall adopt rules to implement and
   94  administer this section.
   95         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.
   97  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
   98  And the title is amended as follows:
   99         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  100  and insert:
  101                        A bill to be entitled                      
  102         An act relating to public utility storm protection
  103         plans; creating s. 366.96, F.S.; providing legislative
  104         findings; defining terms; requiring public utilities
  105         to individually submit to the Public Service
  106         Commission, for review and approval, a transmission
  107         and distribution storm protection plan as part of the
  108         storm hardening plan required by the commission;
  109         requiring utilities to update their respective plans
  110         on a specified basis; requiring the commission to
  111         approve or modify submitted plans within a specified
  112         timeframe, taking into consideration specified
  113         factors; requiring the commission to conduct an annual
  114         proceeding to allow utilities to justify and recover
  115         certain costs through a storm protection cost recovery
  116         clause; providing that a party may challenge the
  117         prudence of certain costs; providing that utilities
  118         may not include certain costs in their base rates;
  119         providing for the allocation of such costs;
  120         authorizing utilities to recover depreciation on
  121         certain capital costs through the recovery clause;
  122         requiring the commission to adopt rules; providing an
  123         effective date.