2016 Florida Statutes
(1)(a) In the exercise of such jurisdiction, the commission shall have power to prescribe fair and reasonable rates and charges, classifications, standards of quality and measurements, including the ability to adopt construction standards that exceed the National Electrical Safety Code, for purposes of ensuring the reliable provision of service, and service rules and regulations to be observed by each public utility; to require repairs, improvements, additions, replacements, and extensions to the plant and equipment of any public utility when reasonably necessary to promote the convenience and welfare of the public and secure adequate service or facilities for those reasonably entitled thereto; to employ and fix the compensation for such examiners and technical, legal, and clerical employees as it deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter; and to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(b) If the commission authorizes a public utility to charge tiered rates based upon levels of usage and to vary its regular billing period, the utility may not charge a customer a higher rate because of an increase in usage attributable to an extension of the billing period; however, the regular meter reading date may not be advanced or postponed more than 5 days for routine operating reasons without prorating the billing for the period.
(c) Effective January 1, 2016, a utility may not charge or receive a deposit in excess of the following amounts:
1. For an existing account, the total deposit may not exceed 2 months of average actual charges, calculated by adding the monthly charges from the 12-month period immediately before the date any change in the deposit amount is sought, dividing this total by 12, and multiplying the result by 2. If the account has less than 12 months of actual charges, the deposit shall be calculated by adding the available monthly charges, dividing this total by the number of months available, and multiplying the result by 2.
2. For a new service request, the total deposit may not exceed 2 months of projected charges, calculated by adding the 12 months of projected charges, dividing this total by 12, and multiplying the result by 2. Once a new customer has had continuous service for a 12-month period, the amount of the deposit shall be recalculated using actual data. Any difference between the projected and actual amounts must be resolved by the customer paying any additional amount that may be billed by the utility or the utility returning any overcharge.
(d) If a utility has more than one rate for any customer class, it must notify each customer in that class of the available rates and explain how the rate is charged to the customer. If a customer contacts the utility seeking assistance in selecting the most advantageous rate, the utility must provide good faith assistance to the customer. The customer is responsible for charges for service provided under the selected rate.
(e) New tariffs and changes to an existing tariff, other than an administrative change that does not substantially change the meaning or operation of the tariff, must be approved by majority vote of the commission, except as otherwise specifically provided by law.
(2) Every public utility, as defined in s. 366.02, which in addition to the production, transmission, delivery or furnishing of heat, light, or power also sells appliances or other merchandise shall keep separate and individual accounts for the sale and profit deriving from such sales. No profit or loss shall be taken into consideration by the commission from the sale of such items in arriving at any rate to be charged for service by any public utility.
(3) The commission shall provide for the examination and testing of all meters used for measuring any product or service of a public utility.
(4) Any consumer or user may have any such meter tested upon payment of the fees fixed by the commission.
(5) The commission shall establish reasonable fees to be paid for testing such meters on the request of the consumers or users, the fee to be paid by the consumer or user at the time of his or her request, but to be paid by the public utility and repaid to the consumer or user if the meter is found defective or incorrect to the disadvantage of the consumer or user, in excess of the degree or amount of tolerance customarily allowed for such meters, or as may be provided for in rules and regulations of the commission.
(6) The commission may purchase materials, apparatus, and standard measuring instruments for such examination and tests.
(7) The commission shall have the power to require reports from all electric utilities to assure the development of adequate and reliable energy grids.
(8) If the commission determines that there is probable cause to believe that inadequacies exist with respect to the energy grids developed by the electric utility industry, including inadequacies in fuel diversity or fuel supply reliability, it shall have the power, after proceedings as provided by law, and after a finding that mutual benefits will accrue to the electric utilities involved, to require installation or repair of necessary facilities, including generating plants and transmission facilities, with the costs to be distributed in proportion to the benefits received, and to take all necessary steps to ensure compliance. The electric utilities involved in any action taken or orders issued pursuant to this subsection shall have full power and authority, notwithstanding any general or special laws to the contrary, to jointly plan, finance, build, operate, or lease generating and transmission facilities and shall be further authorized to exercise the powers granted to corporations in chapter 361. This subsection shall not supersede or control any provision of the Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act, ss. 403.501-403.518.
(9) The commission may require the filing of reports and other data by a public utility or its affiliated companies, including its parent company, regarding transactions, or allocations of common costs, among the utility and such affiliated companies. The commission may also require such reports or other data necessary to ensure that a utility’s ratepayers do not subsidize nonutility activities.
(10) The Legislature finds that violations of commission orders or rules, in connection with the impairment of a public utility’s operations or service, constitute irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law. The commission is authorized to seek relief in circuit court including temporary and permanent injunctions, restraining orders, or any other appropriate order. Such remedies shall be in addition to and supplementary to any other remedies available for enforcement of agency action under s. 120.69 or the provisions of this chapter. The commission shall establish procedures implementing this section by rule.
(11) The commission has the authority to assess a public utility for reasonable travel costs associated with reviewing the records of the public utility and its affiliates when such records are kept out of state. The public utility may bring the records back into the state for review.
History.—s. 5, ch. 26545, 1951; s. 2, ch. 74-196; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 53, ch. 78-95; ss. 5, 16, ch. 80-35; s. 1, ch. 81-131; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 4, 20, 22, ch. 89-292; s. 51, ch. 90-331; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 3, ch. 93-35; s. 552, ch. 95-148; s. 72, ch. 98-200; s. 17, ch. 2006-230; s. 5, ch. 2015-129.