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

       The Committee on Infrastructure and Security (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 from the reduced costs of storm
   34  restoration.
   35         (2)As used in this section, the term:
   36         (a)“Public utility” or “utility” has the same meaning as
   37  in s. 366.02(1), except that this section does not apply to a
   38  gas utility.
   39         (b)“Transmission and distribution storm protection plan”
   40  or “plan” means a plan for the overhead hardening of electric
   41  transmission and distribution facilities, undergrounding of
   42  electric distribution facilities, and vegetation management.
   43         (c)“Transmission and distribution storm protection plan
   44  costs” means the reasonable and prudent costs to implement an
   45  approved transmission and distribution storm protection plan.
   46         (d)“Vegetation management” means the actions a public
   47  utility takes to prevent or curtail vegetation from interfering
   48  with public utility infrastructure. The term includes the mowing
   49  of vegetation, application of herbicides, trimming of trees, and
   50  removal of trees or brush near and around electric transmission
   51  and distribution facilities.
   52         (3)Each public utility shall file for commission review, a
   53  transmission and distribution storm protection plan that covers
   54  the utility’s immediate 10-year planning period. The commission
   55  must approve or modify the plan within 6 months after the public
   56  utility files the plan with the commission. The commission must
   57  give due consideration to all of the following:
   58         (a)Whether the plan enhances reliability, strengthens
   59  infrastructure, and reduces restoration costs and outage times
   60  in a prudent, practical, and cost-efficient manner, including
   61  whether the plan prioritizes areas of lower reliability
   62  performance.
   63         (b)Whether storm protection of transmission and
   64  distribution infrastructure is feasible, reasonable, or
   65  practical in certain areas of the utility’s service territory,
   66  including in flood zones and rural areas.
   67         (c)The estimated rate impact that will result from the
   68  implementation of the public utility’s proposed transmission and
   69  distribution storm protection plan during the first 3 years
   70  addressed in the plan.
   71         (4)Each public utility must submit an updated transmission
   72  and distribution storm protection plan at least every 3 years
   73  after commission approval of its most recent plan. The
   74  commission shall approve or modify each updated plan pursuant to
   75  the criteria set forth in subsection (3).
   76         (5)After a storm protection plan has been approved, costs
   77  to implement the plan are not subject to challenge unless the
   78  commission finds that certain costs were imprudently incurred.
   79  Proceeding with actions to implement the plan does not
   80  constitute and is not evidence of imprudence. The commission
   81  shall conduct an annual proceeding to allow a public utility to
   82  recover prudently incurred transmission and distribution storm
   83  protection plan costs through a storm protection cost recovery
   84  clause. Once the commission determines that the costs were
   85  prudently incurred, the costs are not subject to disallowance or
   86  further prudence review, except for situations involving fraud,
   87  perjury, or the intentional withholding of key information by
   88  the public utility.
   89         (6)The annual transmission and distribution storm
   90  protection plan costs recoverable through the storm protection
   91  cost recovery clause do not include costs recovered through the
   92  public utility’s base rates and must be allocated to customer
   93  classes pursuant to the rate design most recently approved by
   94  the commission.
   95         (7)If a capital expenditure cost is recoverable through a
   96  storm protection cost recovery clause, the public utility may
   97  recover the annual depreciation on such cost, calculated at the
   98  public utility’s current approved depreciation rates, and a
   99  return on the undepreciated balance of the costs calculated at
  100  the public utility’s weighted average cost of capital using the
  101  return on equity last approved by the commission in a rate case
  102  or settlement order.
  103         (8)The commission shall adopt rules to implement and
  104  administer this section.
  105         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.
  107  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  108  And the title is amended as follows:
  109         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  110  and insert:
  111                        A bill to be entitled                      
  112         An act relating to public utility storm protection
  113         plans; creating s. 366.96, F.S.; providing legislative
  114         findings; defining terms; requiring public utilities
  115         to individually submit to the Public Service
  116         Commission, for review and approval, a transmission
  117         and distribution storm protection plan; requiring
  118         utilities to update their respective plans on a
  119         specified basis; requiring the commission to approve
  120         or modify submitted plans within a specified
  121         timeframe, taking into consideration specified
  122         factors; requiring the commission to conduct an annual
  123         proceeding to allow utilities to justify and recover
  124         certain costs through a storm protection cost recovery
  125         clause; providing that a party may challenge the
  126         prudence of certain costs; providing that utilities
  127         may not include certain costs in their base rates;
  128         providing for the allocation of such costs;
  129         authorizing utilities to recover depreciation on
  130         certain capital costs through the recovery clause;
  131         requiring the commission to adopt rules; providing an
  132         effective date.