Florida Senate - 2019                CS for CS for CS for SB 796
       By the Committees on Appropriations; Infrastructure and
       Security; and Innovation, Industry, and Technology; and Senators
       Gruters, Bracy, Montford, and Broxson
       576-04170-19                                           2019796c3
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public utility storm protection
    3         plans; creating s. 366.96, F.S.; providing legislative
    4         findings; defining terms; requiring public utilities
    5         to individually submit to the Public Service
    6         Commission, for review and approval, a transmission
    7         and distribution storm protection plan; requiring
    8         utilities to update their respective plans on a
    9         specified basis; requiring the commission to approve
   10         or modify submitted plans within a specified
   11         timeframe, taking into consideration specified
   12         factors; requiring the commission to conduct an annual
   13         proceeding to allow utilities to justify and recover
   14         certain costs through a storm protection cost recovery
   15         clause; providing that utilities may not include
   16         certain costs in their base rates; providing for the
   17         allocation of such costs; authorizing utilities to
   18         recover depreciation on certain capital costs through
   19         the recovery clause; requiring the commission to adopt
   20         rules; requiring the commission to propose a rule for
   21         adoption within a specified timeframe; providing a
   22         directive to the Division of Law Revision; providing
   23         appropriations and authorizing positions; providing an
   24         effective date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Section 366.96, Florida Statutes, is created to
   29  read:
   30         366.96Storm protection plan cost recovery.—
   31         (1)The Legislature finds that:
   32         (a)During extreme weather conditions, high winds can cause
   33  vegetation and debris to blow into and damage electrical
   34  transmission and distribution facilities, resulting in power
   35  outages.
   36         (b)A majority of the power outages that occurred during
   37  the recent extreme weather conditions in the state were caused
   38  by vegetation blown by the wind.
   39         (c)It is in the public interest to promote overhead
   40  hardening of electrical transmission and distribution
   41  facilities, the undergrounding of certain electrical
   42  distribution lines, and vegetation management in this state.
   43         (d)Protecting and strengthening transmission and
   44  distribution electric utility infrastructure from extreme
   45  weather conditions will reduce restoration costs and outage
   46  times to customers and improve overall service reliability for
   47  customers.
   48         (e)When considering costs, reliability, storm protection
   49  and restoration, and the public convenience, it is in the
   50  state’s best interest that utilities focus primarily on
   51  distribution laterals when undergrounding electric distribution
   52  lines.
   53         (f)It is in the public interest for each utility to
   54  mitigate additional costs to utility customers when developing
   55  transmission and distribution storm hardening plans.
   56         (g)All customers benefit from the reduced costs of storm
   57  restoration.
   58         (2)As used in this section, the term:
   59         (a)“Public utility” or “utility” has the same meaning as
   60  “public utility” in s. 366.02(1), except that this section does
   61  not apply to a gas utility.
   62         (b)“Transmission and distribution storm protection plan”
   63  or “plan” means a plan for the overhead hardening of electric
   64  transmission and distribution facilities, undergrounding of
   65  electric distribution facilities, and vegetation management.
   66         (c)“Transmission and distribution storm protection plan
   67  costs” means the reasonable and prudent costs to implement an
   68  approved transmission and distribution storm protection plan.
   69         (d)“Vegetation management” means the actions a public
   70  utility takes to prevent or curtail vegetation from interfering
   71  with public utility infrastructure. The term includes the mowing
   72  of vegetation, application of herbicides, trimming of trees, and
   73  removal of trees or brush near and around electric transmission
   74  and distribution facilities.
   75         (3)Each public utility shall file, pursuant to commission
   76  rule and for commission review, a transmission and distribution
   77  storm protection plan that covers the utility’s immediate 10
   78  year planning period. The commission must approve or modify the
   79  plan within 6 months after the public utility files the plan
   80  with the commission. The commission must give due consideration
   81  to all of the following:
   82         (a)Whether the plan enhances reliability, strengthens
   83  infrastructure, and reduces restoration costs and outage times
   84  in a prudent, practical, and cost-efficient manner, including
   85  whether the plan prioritizes areas of lower reliability
   86  performance.
   87         (b)Whether storm protection of transmission and
   88  distribution infrastructure is feasible, reasonable, or
   89  practical in certain areas of the utility’s service territory,
   90  including in flood zones and rural areas.
   91         (c)The estimated rate impact that will result from the
   92  implementation of the public utility’s proposed transmission and
   93  distribution storm protection plan during the first 3 years
   94  addressed in the plan.
   95         (4)Each public utility must submit an updated transmission
   96  and distribution storm protection plan at least every 3 years
   97  after commission approval of its most recent plan. The
   98  commission shall approve or modify each updated plan pursuant to
   99  the criteria set forth in subsection (3).
  100         (5)After a storm protection plan has been approved,
  101  proceeding with actions to implement the plan does not
  102  constitute and is not evidence of imprudence. The commission
  103  shall conduct an annual proceeding to allow a public utility to
  104  recover prudently incurred transmission and distribution storm
  105  protection plan costs through a storm protection cost recovery
  106  clause. Once the commission determines that the costs were
  107  prudently incurred, the costs are not subject to disallowance or
  108  further prudence review, except for situations involving fraud,
  109  perjury, or the intentional withholding of key information by
  110  the public utility.
  111         (6)The annual transmission and distribution storm
  112  protection plan costs recoverable through the storm protection
  113  cost recovery clause do not include costs recovered through the
  114  public utility’s base rates and must be allocated to customer
  115  classes pursuant to the rate design most recently approved by
  116  the commission.
  117         (7)If a capital expenditure cost is recoverable through a
  118  storm protection cost recovery clause, the public utility may
  119  recover the annual depreciation on such cost, calculated at the
  120  public utility’s current approved depreciation rates, and a
  121  return on the undepreciated balance of the costs calculated at
  122  the public utility’s weighted average cost of capital using the
  123  return on equity last approved by the commission in a rate case
  124  or settlement order.
  125         (8)The commission shall adopt rules to implement and
  126  administer this section, and shall propose a rule for adoption
  127  as soon as practicable after the effective date of this act, but
  128  not later than October 31, 2019.
  129         Section 2. The Division of Law Revision is directed to
  130  replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” wherever it
  131  occurs in this act with the date this act becomes a law.
  132         Section 3. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the sums of
  133  $261,270 in recurring funds and $15,020 in nonrecurring funds
  134  from the Regulatory Trust Fund are appropriated to the Public
  135  Service Commission, and four full-time equivalent positions with
  136  an associated salary rate of 180,583 are authorized for the
  137  purpose of implementing this act.
  138         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.