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

       The Committee on Appropriations (Gruters) recommended the
    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, pursuant to commission
   53  rule and for commission review, a transmission and distribution
   54  storm protection plan that covers the utility’s immediate 10
   55  year planning period. The commission must approve or modify the
   56  plan within 6 months after the public utility files the plan
   57  with the commission. The commission must give due consideration
   58  to all of the following:
   59         (a)Whether the plan enhances reliability, strengthens
   60  infrastructure, and reduces restoration costs and outage times
   61  in a prudent, practical, and cost-efficient manner, including
   62  whether the plan prioritizes areas of lower reliability
   63  performance.
   64         (b)Whether storm protection of transmission and
   65  distribution infrastructure is feasible, reasonable, or
   66  practical in certain areas of the utility’s service territory,
   67  including in flood zones and rural areas.
   68         (c)The estimated rate impact that will result from the
   69  implementation of the public utility’s proposed transmission and
   70  distribution storm protection plan during the first 3 years
   71  addressed in the plan.
   72         (4)Each public utility must submit an updated transmission
   73  and distribution storm protection plan at least every 3 years
   74  after commission approval of its most recent plan. The
   75  commission shall approve or modify each updated plan pursuant to
   76  the criteria set forth in subsection (3).
   77         (5)After a storm protection plan has been approved,
   78  proceeding with actions to implement the plan does not
   79  constitute and is not evidence of imprudence. The commission
   80  shall conduct an annual proceeding to allow a public utility to
   81  recover prudently incurred transmission and distribution storm
   82  protection plan costs through a storm protection cost recovery
   83  clause. Once the commission determines that the costs were
   84  prudently incurred, the costs are not subject to disallowance or
   85  further prudence review, except for situations involving fraud,
   86  perjury, or the intentional withholding of key information by
   87  the public utility.
   88         (6)The annual transmission and distribution storm
   89  protection plan costs recoverable through the storm protection
   90  cost recovery clause do not include costs recovered through the
   91  public utility’s base rates and must be allocated to customer
   92  classes pursuant to the rate design most recently approved by
   93  the commission.
   94         (7)If a capital expenditure cost is recoverable through a
   95  storm protection cost recovery clause, the public utility may
   96  recover the annual depreciation on such cost, calculated at the
   97  public utility’s current approved depreciation rates, and a
   98  return on the undepreciated balance of the costs calculated at
   99  the public utility’s weighted average cost of capital using the
  100  return on equity last approved by the commission in a rate case
  101  or settlement order.
  102         (8)The commission shall adopt rules to implement and
  103  administer this section, and shall propose a rule for adoption
  104  as soon as practicable after the effective date of this act, but
  105  not later than October 31, 2019.
  106         Section 2. The Division of Law Revision is directed to
  107  replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” wherever it
  108  occurs in this act with the date this act becomes a law.
  109         Section 3. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the sums of
  110  $261,270 in recurring funds and $15,020 in nonrecurring funds
  111  from the Regulatory Trust Fund are appropriated to the Public
  112  Service Commission, and 4 full-time equivalent positions with an
  113  associated salary rate of 180,583 are authorized for the purpose
  114  of implementing this act.
  115         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
  117  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  118  And the title is amended as follows:
  119         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  120  and insert:
  121                        A bill to be entitled                      
  122         An act relating to public utility storm protection
  123         plans; creating s. 366.96, F.S.; providing legislative
  124         findings; defining terms; requiring public utilities
  125         to individually submit to the Public Service
  126         Commission, for review and approval, a transmission
  127         and distribution storm protection plan; requiring
  128         utilities to update their respective plans on a
  129         specified basis; requiring the commission to approve
  130         or modify submitted plans within a specified
  131         timeframe, taking into consideration specified
  132         factors; requiring the commission to conduct an annual
  133         proceeding to allow utilities to justify and recover
  134         certain costs through a storm protection cost recovery
  135         clause; providing that utilities may not include
  136         certain costs in their base rates; providing for the
  137         allocation of such costs; authorizing utilities to
  138         recover depreciation on certain capital costs through
  139         the recovery clause; requiring the commission to adopt
  140         rules; requiring the commission to propose a rule for
  141         adoption within a specified timeframe; providing a
  142         directive to the Division of Law Revision; providing
  143         appropriations and authorizing positions; providing an
  144         effective date.