Reviewing a Year of Achievements;
Looking Forward to Next Year’s Challenges
This time of year brings great joy shared with family and friends, and it also brings
reflection on the year ending and anticipation of the quickly approaching new year.
In a few days, it will be 2013.
Are you ready for the challenges the New Year will bring?
As I begin my second year as Chairman of Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC),
I’m looking forward to the new year, working with my fellow Commissioners, and I’m
proud of our accomplishments this year. Following are some PSC highlights for 2012.
Throughout the year, we helped consumers cope with tight budgets, using strategies
to keep utility rates down and to reach out to consumers. We approved a settlement
agreement for Progress Energy Florida (PEF) that provides continuous, reliable service
and rate continuity and includes tactics to keep its nuclear project rates down.
A provision in the PEF settlement triggers a $129 million refund that will benefit
ratepayers in 2013. We also reduced Gulf Power Company’s revenue request by more
than $35 million, mitigating customer impact. We approved a settlement agreement
for Florida Power & Light Company that is $166 million lower than its original annual
rate request and will help create jobs and grow Florida's economy.
In January, Florida was one of two states personally commended by Federal Communications
Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski for efforts to identify and eliminate fraud
in the Lifeline Assistance telephone discount program benefitting low-income consumers.
In February, we held rates down for customers of Aqua Utilities Florida, Inc. (AUF),
decreasing the company’s original revenue request by $1.3 million. AUF serves 17,154
water and 6,595 wastewater customers through 58 water and 27 wastewater systems
in 17 Florida counties.
In March, we approved the long-term energy emergency plans for the 15 Florida utilities
that own or control electric generation facilities. Every three years, the utilities
are required to file emergency plans establishing their systematic and effective
means to anticipate, access, and respond to a long-term fuel shortage emergency.
During 2012 National Consumer Protection Week in March, we shared helpful consumer
information available from the PSC and other state agencies with consumer group
leaders from across the state. We also shared best practices to achieve more effective
outreach, so consumers can get help with their utility bills and obtain Lifeline
telephone assistance, if they qualify.
We helped students learn that energy and water conservation makes sense on Earth
Day and every day. Participating in April’s Earth Day celebration, the PSC joined
the Department of Environmental Protection, other state agencies, and local organizations
and businesses to raise resource conservation awareness.
In May, we reviewed storm preparedness plans for the state’s electric utilities
before Hurricane Season. By annually reviewing utilities’ adherence to PSC preparedness
rules, we are assured of reduced storm-related outages and quicker recovery times
for families and essential services.
Consumer confidence in generating and using renewables increases each year, according
to electric utility reports reviewed by the PSC in June. Customer-owned renewable
energy grew 40 percent last year with 3,994 systems, up from 2,833 in 2010. Statewide,
electric generation capacity from renewable systems reached approximately 29,259
kilowatts (kW), up from 20,403 kW in 2010.
Acknowledging increased concern about pipeline safety due to aging infrastructure
susceptible to corrosion, in July we approved two petitions allowing three Florida
natural gas companies to recover their costs for hastening pipeline replacement
within 10 years.
In August we learned that Florida consumers have a broad range of communications
choices, according to the PSC’s annual Report on the Status of Competition in the
Telecommunications Industry. Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers also
appeared before us to share how the July 3 merger of Duke Energy (Duke) and PEF
would affect Florida consumers. After the meeting, Commissioner Eduardo E. Balbis,
as Prehearing Officer, reviewed the status of Crystal River Nuclear Unit 3 (CR3),
now managed by Duke since its merger with PEF.
Established by the 2012 Florida Legislature, the “Study Committee on Investor-Owned
Water & Wastewater Utility Systems” (Committee) held its first meeting in September.
Chaired by PSC Commissioner Julie Brown, the Committee includes 17 representatives
from the Florida Legislature, state agencies, state and local governments, and investor-owned
water utilities and their customers. A report on the Committee’s findings will be
submitted to the Governor, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House by
February 15, 2013.
Highlighting October’s national Energy Action Month, PSC senior managers and I participated
in a locally-sponsored Big Bend Habitat for Humanity build. I also joined the City
of Tallahassee’s Mayor to help weatherize a local utility customer’s home.
In November, Commissioner Lisa Polak Edgar was elected Second Vice President of
the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) representing
state utility regulators across the country; she is the first Florida Commissioner
to be a NARUC officer.
While December is a busy month for everyone, it seemed particularly busy for us.
Concluding FPL’s rate case petition, the PSC approved a stipulation and settlement
agreement that is in the public interest. As FPL moves forward with construction
of three new power plants, our decision provides rate certainty through 2016 for
the customers and the utility and provides opportunities for job and economic growth
We accomplished much in 2012, and there’s always more to do! Next year, as we did
this year, we will continue to met our statutory responsibility every work day.
So, now it’s time to remove the old calendar, hang the new one, and meet the challenges
2013 will bring. Here’s wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!
There are five
ways to contact us:
Complete an online complaint form at www.floridapsc.com
Call our toll-free number, 800-342-3552
Fax information to us toll-free, 800-511-0809
Send a letter to: The Florida Public Service Commission
2540 Shumard Oak Blvd., Tallahassee,
a regular Commission Conference will be held on January 8 ♦ Commissioner Julie
Brown will chair meetings of the Study Committee on Investor-Owned Water & Wastewater
Utilities in Tallahassee on January 8 and January 25 ♦ PSC staff will hold
a customer meeting in Tavares for TPL Water, Inc. on January 9 ♦ Commissioners
Lisa Edgar, Eduardo Balbis, and Julie Brown will hold a customer service hearing
for Water Management Services at St. George Island on January 16 and 17 ♦
A regular Commission Conference will be held on January 24.
December Press Releases
Customer Meeting Set for Pluris Wedgefield, Inc. 12/3/2012
PSC Approves Residential
Wastewater-Only Rate for Aqua Utilities Florida 12/10/2012
PSC Revises Pay Telephone
Customer Meeting Set for
PSC Approves Need Determination
for TECO Plant Conversion 12/12/2012
PSC Votes on FPL Rate Request
Study Committee on Water
& Wastewater Utilities to Hold Conference Call on Wednesday 12/17/2012
PSC Releases 2012 Lifeline
Assistance Program Report 12/19/2012
Florida Electric Utilities’
Ten-Year Site Plans Prepare for Future Growth 12/19/2012
PSC Issues Report on Electric
Vehicle Charging 12/20/2012
Notable FPSC Orders
Filed From December 1 - 31, 2012
Pay Telephone Service Providers
Docket No. 120262
Order No. PSC-12-0656-NOR-TC
Notice of rulemaking to amend Rules 25-24.510 through 25-24.512, 25-24.514, and
25-24.515, Florida Administrative Code, relating to pay telephone service providers;
if timely requested, a hearing will be held at a time and place to be announced
in a future notice; written requests for hearing and written comments on the rules
must be received by the Office of Commission Clerk no later than 1/3/13.
♦ ♦ ♦
Florida Power & Light Company
Progress Energy Florida
Docket No. 120009
Order No. PSC-12-0650-FOF-EI
Final Order approving nuclear cost recovery amounts for FPL and PEF.
♦ ♦ ♦
Florida Power & Light Company
Docket No. 120244
Order No. PSC-12-0647-PAA-EI
Proposed Agency Action Order approving base rate increase for extended power uprate
systems; FPL to file revised tariff sheets for administrative approval by staff;
if no protests, order to become final and effective on issuance of a Consummating
Order; protest due 1/1/13.
♦ ♦ ♦
Tampa Electric Company
Docket No. 120234
Order No. PSC-12-0642-PHO-EI
Prehearing Order for petition to determine need for Polk 2-5 combined cycle conversion,
by Tampa Electric Company.