Chapter 367 Water And Wastewater Systems

Link to law: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399%2F0367%2F0367.html
Published: 2015

CHAPTER 367
WATER AND WASTEWATER SYSTEMS

367.011 Jurisdiction; legislative intent.

367.021 Definitions.

367.022 Exemptions.

367.031 Original certificate.

367.045 Certificate of authorization; application and amendment procedures.

367.071 Sale, assignment, or transfer of certificate of authorization, facilities, or control.

367.072 Petition to revoke certificate of authorization.

367.081 Rates; procedure for fixing and changing.

367.0812 Rate fixing; quality of water service as criterion.

367.0813 Gain or loss on purchase or condemnation by governmental authority.

367.0814 Staff assistance in changing rates and charges; interim rates.

367.0816 Recovery of rate case expenses.

367.0817 Reuse projects.

367.082 Interim rates; procedure.

367.0822 Limited proceedings.

367.083 Determination of official date of filing.

367.084 Rate adjustment orders.

367.091 Rates, tariffs; new class of service.

367.101 Charges for service availability.

367.111 Service.

367.121 Powers of commission.

367.1213 Adequate land ownership; commission rulemaking authority.

367.1214 Utility name change; notification; commission rulemaking authority.

367.122 Examination and testing of meters.

367.123 Service for resale.

367.145 Regulatory assessment and application fees.

367.156 Public utility records; confidentiality.

367.161 Penalties.

367.165 Abandonment.

367.171 Effectiveness of this chapter.

367.182 Saving clause.

367.011 Jurisdiction; legislative intent.—
(1) This chapter may be cited as the “Water and Wastewater System Regulatory Law.”

(2) The Florida Public Service Commission shall have exclusive jurisdiction over each utility with respect to its authority, service, and rates.

(3) The regulation of utilities is declared to be in the public interest, and this law is an exercise of the police power of the state for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of this purpose.

(4) This chapter shall supersede all other laws on the same subject, and subsequent inconsistent laws shall supersede this chapter only to the extent that they do so by express reference. This chapter shall not impair or take away vested rights other than procedural rights or benefits.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 1, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 6, 15, ch. 82-25; ss. 1, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.021 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the following words or terms shall have the meanings indicated:
(1) “Certificate of authorization” means a document issued by the commission authorizing a utility to provide service in a specific service area.

(2) “Commission” means the Florida Public Service Commission.

(3) “Contribution-in-aid-of-construction” means any amount or item of money, services, or property received by a utility, from any person or governmental authority, any portion of which is provided at no cost to the utility, which represents a donation or contribution to the capital of the utility, and which is used to offset the acquisition, improvement, or construction costs of the utility property, facilities, or equipment used to provide utility services.

(4) “Corporate undertaking” means the unqualified guarantee of a utility to pay a refund and pay interest connected therewith which may be ordered by the commission at such time as the obligation becomes fixed and final.

(5) “Domestic wastewater” means wastewater principally from dwellings, business buildings, institutions, and sanitary wastewater or sewage treatment plants.

(6) “Effluent reuse” means the use of wastewater after the treatment process, generally for reuse as irrigation water or for in-plant use.

(7) “Governmental authority” means a political subdivision, as defined by s. 1.01(8), a regional water supply authority created pursuant to s. 373.713, or a nonprofit corporation formed for the purpose of acting on behalf of a political subdivision with respect to a water or wastewater facility.

(8) “Industrial wastewater” means wastewater not otherwise defined as domestic wastewater, including runoff and leachate from areas that receive pollutants associated with industrial or commercial storage, handling, or processing.

(9) “Official date of filing” means the date upon which it has been determined, pursuant to s. 367.083, by the commission that the utility has filed with the clerk the minimum filing requirements as established by rule of the commission.

(10) “Service area” means the geographical area described in a certificate of authorization, which may be within or without the boundaries of an incorporated municipality and may include areas in more than one county.

(11) “System” means facilities and land used or useful in providing service and, upon a finding by the commission, may include a combination of functionally related facilities and land.

(12) “Utility” means a water or wastewater utility and, except as provided in s. 367.022, includes every person, lessee, trustee, or receiver owning, operating, managing, or controlling a system, or proposing construction of a system, who is providing, or proposes to provide, water or wastewater service to the public for compensation.

(13) “Wastewater” means the combination of the liquid and water-carried pollutants from a residence, commercial building, industrial plant, or institution, together with any groundwater, surface runoff, or leachate that may be present.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 2, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 2, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 3, ch. 99-319; s. 9, ch. 2010-205.

367.022 Exemptions.—The following are not subject to regulation by the commission as a utility nor are they subject to the provisions of this chapter, except as expressly provided:
(1) The sale, distribution, or furnishing of bottled water.

(2) Systems owned, operated, managed, or controlled by governmental authorities, including water or wastewater facilities operated by private firms under water or wastewater facility privatization contracts as defined in s. 153.91, and nonprofit corporations formed for the purpose of acting on behalf of a political subdivision with respect to a water or wastewater facility.

(3) Manufacturers providing service solely in connection with their operations.

(4) Public lodging establishments providing service solely in connection with service to their guests.

(5) Landlords providing service to their tenants without specific compensation for the service.

(6) Systems with the capacity or proposed capacity to serve 100 or fewer persons.

(7) Nonprofit corporations, associations, or cooperatives providing service solely to members who own and control such nonprofit corporations, associations, or cooperatives.

(8) Any person who resells water or wastewater service at a rate or charge which does not exceed the actual purchase price of the water or wastewater.

(9) Wastewater treatment plants operated exclusively for disposing of industrial wastewater.

(10) The sale of bulk supplies of desalinated water to a governmental authority.

(11) Any person providing only nonpotable water for irrigation or fireflow purposes in a geographic area where potable water service is available from a governmentally or privately owned utility or a private well.

(12) The sale for resale of bulk supplies of water or the sale or resale of wastewater services to a governmental authority or to a utility regulated pursuant to this chapter either by the commission or the county.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 3, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 3, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 1, ch. 90-166; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 96-107; s. 10, ch. 96-202; s. 24, ch. 97-236; s. 4, ch. 99-319; s. 39, ch. 2002-296.

367.031 Original certificate.—Each utility subject to the jurisdiction of the commission must obtain from the commission a certificate of authorization to provide water or wastewater service. A utility must obtain a certificate of authorization from the commission prior to being issued a permit by the Department of Environmental Protection for the construction of a new water or wastewater facility or prior to being issued a consumptive use or drilling permit by a water management district. The commission shall grant or deny an application for a certificate of authorization within 90 days after the official filing date of the completed application, unless an objection is filed pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57, or the application will be deemed granted.
History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 5, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 85-85; ss. 4, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 8, ch. 93-35; s. 183, ch. 94-356; s. 3, ch. 96-407; s. 94, ch. 96-410.

367.045 Certificate of authorization; application and amendment procedures.—
(1) When a utility applies for an initial certificate of authorization from the commission, it shall:
(a) Provide notice of the actual application filed by mail or personal delivery to the governing body of the county or city affected, to the Public Counsel, to the commission, and to such other persons and in such other manner as may be prescribed by commission rule;

(b) Provide all information required by rule or order of the commission, which information may include a detailed inquiry into the ability of the applicant to provide service, the area and facilities involved, the need for service in the area involved, and the existence or nonexistence of service from other sources within geographical proximity to the area in which the applicant seeks to provide service;

(c) File with the commission schedules showing all rates, classifications, and charges for service of every kind proposed by it and all rules, regulations, and contracts relating thereto;

(d) File the application fee required by s. 367.145; and

(e) Submit an affidavit that the applicant has provided notice of its actual application pursuant to this section.

(2) A utility may not delete or extend its service outside the area described in its certificate of authorization until it has obtained an amended certificate of authorization from the commission. When a utility applies for an amended certificate of authorization from the commission, it shall:
(a) Provide notice of the actual application filed by mail or personal delivery to the governing body of the county or municipality affected, to the Public Counsel, to the commission, and to such other persons and in such other manner as may be prescribed by commission rule;

(b) Provide all information required by rule or order of the commission, which information may include a detailed inquiry into the ability or inability of the applicant to provide service, the need or lack of need for service in the area that the applicant seeks to delete or add; the existence or nonexistence of service from other sources within geographical proximity to the area that the applicant seeks to delete or add, and a description of the area sought to be deleted or added to the area described in the applicant’s current certificate of authorization;

(c) Provide a reference to the number of the most recent order of the commission establishing or amending the applicant’s rates and charges;

(d) Submit an affidavit that the utility has tariffs and annual reports on file with the commission;

(e) File the application fee required by s. 367.145; and

(f) Submit an affidavit that the applicant has provided notice of its actual application pursuant to this section.

(3) If, within 30 days after the last day that notice was mailed or published by the applicant, whichever is later, the commission does not receive written objection to the notice, the commission may dispose of the application without hearing. If the applicant is dissatisfied with the disposition, it may bring a proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.

(4) If, within 30 days after the last day that notice was mailed or published by the applicant, whichever is later, the commission receives from the Public Counsel, a governmental authority, or a utility or consumer who would be substantially affected by the requested certification or amendment a written objection requesting a proceeding pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57, the commission shall order such proceeding conducted in or near the area for which application is made, if feasible. Notwithstanding the ability to object on any other ground, a county or municipality has standing to object on the ground that the issuance or amendment of the certificate of authorization violates established local comprehensive plans developed pursuant to ss. 163.3161-163.3211. If a consumer, utility, or governmental authority or the Public Counsel requests a public hearing on the application, such hearing must, if feasible, be held in or near the area for which application is made; and the transcript of such hearing and any material submitted at or before the hearing must be considered as part of the record of the application and any proceeding related thereto.

(5)(a) The commission may grant or amend a certificate of authorization, in whole or in part or with modifications in the public interest, but may not grant authority greater than that requested in the application or amendment thereto and noticed under this section; or it may deny a certificate of authorization or an amendment to a certificate of authorization, if in the public interest. The commission may deny an application for a certificate of authorization for any new Class C wastewater system, as defined by commission rule, if the public can be adequately served by modifying or extending a current wastewater system. The commission may not grant a certificate of authorization for a proposed system, or an amendment to a certificate of authorization for the extension of an existing system, which will be in competition with, or a duplication of, any other system or portion of a system, unless it first determines that such other system or portion thereof is inadequate to meet the reasonable needs of the public or that the person operating the system is unable, refuses, or neglects to provide reasonably adequate service.

(b) When granting or amending a certificate of authorization, the commission need not consider whether the issuance or amendment of the certificate of authorization is inconsistent with the local comprehensive plan of a county or municipality unless a timely objection to the notice required by this section has been made by an appropriate motion or application. If such an objection has been timely made, the commission shall consider, but is not bound by, the local comprehensive plan of the county or municipality.

(6) The revocation, suspension, transfer, or amendment of a certificate of authorization is subject to the provisions of this section. The commission shall give 30 days’ notice before it initiates any such action.

History.—ss. 5, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 95, ch. 96-410.

367.071 Sale, assignment, or transfer of certificate of authorization, facilities, or control.—
(1) No utility shall sell, assign, or transfer its certificate of authorization, facilities or any portion thereof, or majority organizational control without determination and approval of the commission that the proposed sale, assignment, or transfer is in the public interest and that the buyer, assignee, or transferee will fulfill the commitments, obligations, and representations of the utility. However, a sale, assignment, or transfer of its certificate of authorization, facilities or any portion thereof, or majority organizational control may occur prior to commission approval if the contract for sale, assignment, or transfer is made contingent upon commission approval.

(2) The commission may impose a penalty pursuant to s. 367.161 when a transfer occurs prior to approval by the commission. The transferor remains liable for any outstanding regulatory assessment fees, fines, or refunds of the utility.

(3) An application for proposed sale, assignment, or transfer shall be accompanied by a fee as provided by s. 367.145. No fee is required to be paid by a governmental authority that is the buyer, assignee, or transferee.

(4) An application shall be disposed of as provided in s. 367.045, except that:
(a) The sale of facilities, in whole or part, to a governmental authority shall be approved as a matter of right; however, the governmental authority shall, prior to taking any official action, obtain from the utility or commission with respect to the facilities to be sold the most recent available income and expense statement, balance sheet, and statement of rate base for regulatory purposes and contributions-in-aid-of-construction. Any request for rate relief pending before the commission at the time of sale is deemed to have been withdrawn. Interim rates, if previously approved by the commission, must be discontinued, and any money collected pursuant to interim rate relief must be refunded to the customers of the utility with interest.

(b) When paragraph (a) does not apply, the commission shall amend the certificate of authorization as necessary to reflect the change resulting from the sale, assignment, or transfer.

(5) The commission by order may establish the rate base for a utility or its facilities or property when the commission approves a sale, assignment, or transfer thereof, except for any sale, assignment, or transfer to a governmental authority.

(6) Any person, company, or organization that obtains ownership or control over any system, or part thereof, through foreclosure of a mortgage or other encumbrance, shall continue service without interruption and may not remove or dismantle any portion of the system previously dedicated to public use which would impair the ability to provide service, without the express approval of the commission. This provision may be enforced by an injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 9, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 7, 15, ch. 82-25; ss. 6, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 2, ch. 90-166; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 5, ch. 99-319.

367.072 Petition to revoke certificate of authorization.—The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest that water service be of good quality and consistent with the standards set forth in this chapter. Therefore, a utility’s certificate of authorization to provide water service may be revoked if, after its customers file a petition with the commission, the commission finds that revocation is in the best interest of the customers in accordance with this section. As used in this section, the term “customer” means an individual whose property is serviced by a single meter or a person whose name appears on the bill for a master meter.

(1)(a) If the commission receives a letter from the customers of a utility stating their intent to file a petition pursuant to this section, the commission staff, within 10 days after receipt of the letter, shall notify the utility of the customers’ intent to file a petition.

(b) Commission staff shall send to the customers instructions regarding the information required on the petition and the subsequent process the commission will follow. The petition must be filed within 90 days after the receipt of the instructions. Commission staff shall review the petition and notify the customers within 10 days after receipt of the petition that the petition is sufficient for the commission to act or that additional information is necessary. The customers must file a cured petition within 30 days after receipt of the notice to cure and provide a copy of the petition to the utility. If the customers fail to file or refile a petition within the allotted time, the commission shall dismiss the petition with prejudice, and the customers may not file another petition for 1 year after the dismissal.

(2) A petition must:
(a) State with specificity each issue that customers have with the quality of water service, each time the issue was reported to the utility, and how long each issue has existed; and

(b) Be signed by at least 65 percent of the customers of the service area covered under the certificate of authorization. A person whose name appears on the bill for a master meter may sign a petition if at least 65 percent of the customers, tenants, or unit owners served by the master meter support the petition, in which case documentation of such support must be included with the petition.

(3) If the petition is in compliance with this section and the issues identified within the petition support a reasonable likelihood that the utility is failing to provide quality of water service, the utility shall thereafter be prohibited from filing a rate case until the commission has issued a final order addressing the issues identified in the petition. The utility shall use the following criteria in preparing a response to the commission, addressing the issues identified within the petition and defending the quality of its water service:
(a) Federal and state primary water quality standards or secondary water quality standards pursuant to s. 367.0812; and

(b) The relationship between the utility and its customers, including each complaint received regarding the quality of water service, the length of time each customer has been complaining about the service, the resolution of each complaint, and the time it has taken to address such complaints.

(4) The commission shall evaluate the issues identified in the petition, the utility’s response as to whether it is providing quality of water service, and any other factor the commission deems relevant.

(5) Based upon its evaluation, the commission shall:
(a) Dismiss the petition, in which case the decision must be supported by clear and convincing evidence and is subject to ss. 120.569 and 120.57;

(b) Require the utility to take the necessary steps to correct the quality of water service issues identified in the petition. The commission shall set benchmarks within a timeframe, not to exceed 3 years, and may require the utility to provide interim reports describing its progress in meeting such benchmarks. The commission may extend the term 3 years for circumstances that delay the project which are not in the control of the utility, such as natural disasters and obtaining permits necessary for meeting such benchmarks; or

(c) Notwithstanding s. 367.045, revoke the utility’s certificate of authorization, in which case a receiver must be appointed pursuant to s. 367.165 until a sale of the utility system has been approved pursuant to s. 367.071.

(6) The commission shall adopt by rule the format of and requirements for a petition and may adopt other rules to administer this section.

History.—s. 1, ch. 2014-68.

367.081 Rates; procedure for fixing and changing.—
(1) Except as provided in subsection (4) or subsection (6), a utility may only charge rates and charges that have been approved by the commission.

(2)(a)1. The commission shall, either upon request or upon its own motion, fix rates which are just, reasonable, compensatory, and not unfairly discriminatory. In every such proceeding, the commission shall consider the value and quality of the service and the cost of providing the service, which shall include, but not be limited to, debt interest; the requirements of the utility for working capital; maintenance, depreciation, tax, and operating expenses incurred in the operation of all property used and useful in the public service; and a fair return on the investment of the utility in property used and useful in the public service. However, the commission shall not allow the inclusion of contributions-in-aid-of-construction in the rate base of any utility during a rate proceeding, nor shall the commission impute prospective future contributions-in-aid-of-construction against the utility’s investment in property used and useful in the public service; and accumulated depreciation on such contributions-in-aid-of-construction shall not be used to reduce the rate base, nor shall depreciation on such contributed assets be considered a cost of providing utility service.

2. For purposes of such proceedings, the commission shall consider utility property, including land acquired or facilities constructed or to be constructed within a reasonable time in the future, not to exceed 24 months after the end of the historic base year used to set final rates unless a longer period is approved by the commission, to be used and useful in the public service, if:
a. Such property is needed to serve current customers;

b. Such property is needed to serve customers 5 years after the end of the test year used in the commission’s final order on a rate request as provided in subsection (6) at a growth rate for equivalent residential connections not to exceed 5 percent per year; or

c. Such property is needed to serve customers more than 5 full years after the end of the test year used in the commission’s final order on a rate request as provided in subsection (6) only to the extent that the utility presents clear and convincing evidence to justify such consideration.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, the commission shall approve rates for service which allow a utility to recover from customers the full amount of environmental compliance costs. Such rates may not include charges for allowances for funds prudently invested or similar charges. For purposes of this requirement, the term “environmental compliance costs” includes all reasonable expenses and fair return on any prudent investment incurred by a utility in complying with the requirements or conditions contained in any permitting, enforcement, or similar decisions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Environmental Protection, a water management district, or any other governmental entity with similar regulatory jurisdiction.

(b) In establishing initial rates for a utility, the commission may project the financial and operational data as set out in paragraph (a) to a point in time when the utility is expected to be operating at a reasonable level of capacity.

(3) The commission, in fixing rates, may determine the prudent cost of providing service during the period of time the rates will be in effect following the entry of a final order relating to the rate request of the utility and may use such costs to determine the revenue requirements that will allow the utility to earn a fair rate of return on its rate base.

(4)(a) On or before March 31 of each year, the commission by order shall establish a price increase or decrease index for major categories of operating costs incurred by utilities subject to its jurisdiction reflecting the percentage of increase or decrease in such costs from the most recent 12-month historical data available. The commission by rule shall establish the procedure to be used in determining such indices and a procedure by which a utility, without further action by the commission, or the commission on its own motion, may implement an increase or decrease in its rates based upon the application of the indices to the amount of the major categories of operating costs incurred by the utility during the immediately preceding calendar year, except to the extent of any disallowances or adjustments for those expenses of that utility in its most recent rate proceeding before the commission. The rules shall provide that, upon a finding of good cause, including inadequate service, the commission may order a utility to refrain from implementing a rate increase hereunder unless implemented under a bond or corporate undertaking in the same manner as interim rates may be implemented under s. 367.082. A utility may not use this procedure between the official filing date of the rate proceeding and 1 year thereafter, unless the case is completed or terminated at an earlier date. A utility may not use this procedure to increase any operating cost for which an adjustment has been or could be made under paragraph (b), or to increase its rates by application of a price index other than the most recent price index authorized by the commission at the time of filing.

(b) The approved rates of any utility which receives all or any portion of its utility service from a governmental authority or from a water or wastewater utility regulated by the commission and which redistributes that service to its utility customers shall be automatically increased or decreased without hearing, upon verified notice to the commission 45 days prior to its implementation of the increase or decrease that the rates charged by the governmental authority or other utility have changed. The approved rates of any utility which is subject to an increase or decrease in the rates or fees that it is charged for electric power, the amount of ad valorem taxes assessed against its used and useful property, the fees charged by the Department of Environmental Protection in connection with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program, or the regulatory assessment fees imposed upon it by the commission shall be increased or decreased by the utility, without action by the commission, upon verified notice to the commission 45 days prior to its implementation of the increase or decrease that the rates charged by the supplier of the electric power or the taxes imposed by the governmental authority, or the regulatory assessment fees imposed upon it by the commission have changed. The new rates authorized shall reflect the amount of the change of the ad valorem taxes or rates imposed upon the utility by the governmental authority, other utility, or supplier of electric power, or the regulatory assessment fees imposed upon it by the commission. The approved rates of any utility shall be automatically increased, without hearing, upon verified notice to the commission 45 days prior to implementation of the increase that costs have been incurred for water quality or wastewater quality testing required by the Department of Environmental Protection. The new rates authorized shall reflect, on an amortized basis, the cost of, or the amount of change in the cost of, required water quality or wastewater quality testing performed by laboratories approved by the Department of Environmental Protection for that purpose. The new rates, however, shall not reflect the costs of any required water quality or wastewater quality testing already included in a utility’s rates. A utility may not use this procedure to increase its rates as a result of water quality or wastewater quality testing or an increase in the cost of purchased water services, sewer services, or electric power or in assessed ad valorem taxes, which increase was initiated more than 12 months before the filing by the utility. The provisions of this subsection do not prevent a utility from seeking a change in rates pursuant to the provisions of subsection (2).

(c) Before implementing a change in rates under this subsection, the utility shall file an affirmation under oath as to the accuracy of the figures and calculations upon which the change in rates is based, stating that the change will not cause the utility to exceed the range of its last authorized rate of return on equity. Whoever makes a false statement in the affirmation required hereunder, which statement he or she does not believe to be true in regard to any material matter, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(d) If, within 15 months after the filing of a utility’s annual report required by s. 367.121, the commission finds that the utility exceeded the range of its last authorized rate of return on equity after an adjustment in rates as authorized by this subsection was implemented within the year for which the report was filed or was implemented in the preceding year, the commission may order the utility to refund, with interest, the difference to the ratepayers and adjust rates accordingly. This provision shall not be construed to require a bond or corporate undertaking not otherwise required.

(e) Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, a utility may not adjust its rates under this subsection more than two times in any 12-month period. For the purpose of this paragraph, a combined application or simultaneously filed applications that were filed under the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) shall be considered one rate adjustment.

(f) The commission may regularly, not less often than once each year, establish by order a leverage formula or formulae that reasonably reflect the range of returns on common equity for an average water or wastewater utility and which, for purposes of this section, shall be used to calculate the last authorized rate of return on equity for any utility which otherwise would have no established rate of return on equity. In any other proceeding in which an authorized rate of return on equity is to be established, a utility, in lieu of presenting evidence on its rate of return on common equity, may move the commission to adopt the range of rates of return on common equity that has been established under this paragraph.

(5) An application for a rate change must be accompanied by a fee as provided by s. 367.145, except that no fee shall be required for an application for a rate change made pursuant to subsection (4).

(6) The commission may withhold consent to the operation of any rate request or any portion thereof by a vote to that effect within 60 days after the date of filing of the rate request, or within a shorter period established by rule of the commission. The order shall state a reason or statement of good cause for the withholding of consent. The commission shall provide a copy of the order to the utility and all interested persons who have requested notice. Such consent shall not be withheld for a period longer than 8 months following the date of filing. The new rates or all or any portion thereof not consented to may be placed into effect by the utility under a bond, escrow, or corporate undertaking subject to refund at the expiration of such period upon notice to the commission and upon filing the appropriate tariffs. The commission shall determine whether the corporate undertaking may be filed in lieu of the bond or escrow. The utility shall keep accurate, detailed accounts of all amounts received because of such rates becoming effective under bond, escrow, or corporate undertaking subject to refund, specifying by whom and in whose behalf such amounts were paid. In its final order relating to such rate request, the commission shall direct the utility to refund, with interest at a fair rate to be determined by the commission in such manner as it may direct, such portion of the increased rates which are found not to be justified and which are collected during the periods specified. The commission shall provide by rule for the disposition of any funds not refunded, but in no event shall such funds accrue to the benefit of the utility. The commission shall take final action on the docket and enter its final order within 12 months of the official date of filing.

(7) The commission shall determine the reasonableness of rate case expenses and shall disallow all rate case expenses determined to be unreasonable. No rate case expense determined to be unreasonable shall be paid by a consumer. In determining the reasonable level of rate case expense the commission shall consider the extent to which a utility has utilized or failed to utilize the provisions of paragraph (4)(a) or paragraph (4)(b) and such other criteria as it may establish by rule.

(8) A utility may specifically request the commission to process its petition for rate relief using the agency’s proposed agency action procedure, as prescribed by commission rule. The commission shall enter its vote on the proposed agency action within 5 months of the official filing date. If the commission’s proposed action is protested, the final decision shall be rendered by the commission within 8 months of the date the protest is filed. At the expiration of 5 months following the official filing date, if the commission has not taken action or, if the commission’s action is protested by a party other than the utility, the utility may place its requested rates into effect under bond, escrow, or corporate undertaking subject to refund, upon notice to the commission and upon filing the appropriate tariffs. The utility shall keep accurate records of amounts received as provided by subsection (6).

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 5, ch. 74-195; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 53, ch. 78-95; ss. 10, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 8, 15, ch. 82-25; s. 26, ch. 83-218; s. 3, ch. 84-149; s. 3, ch. 85-85; s. 25, ch. 87-225; ss. 7, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 3, ch. 90-166; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 85, ch. 93-213; s. 184, ch. 94-356; s. 978, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 99-319.

367.0812 Rate fixing; quality of water service as criterion.—
(1) In fixing rates that are just, reasonable, compensatory, and not unfairly discriminatory, the commission shall consider the extent to which the utility provides water service that meets secondary water quality standards as established by the Department of Environmental Protection. In determining whether a utility has satisfied its obligation to provide quality of water service that meets these standards, the commission shall consider:
(a) Testimony and evidence provided by customers and the utility;

(b) The results of past tests required by a county health department or the Department of Environmental Protection which measure the utility’s compliance with the applicable secondary water quality standards;

(c) Complaints regarding the applicable secondary water quality standards filed by customers with the commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, the respective local governmental entity, or a county health department during the past 5 years; and

(d) If the commission deems necessary, the results of any updated test.

(2)(a) In determining the quality of water service, the commission shall consider a finding by the Department of Environmental Protection as to whether the utility has failed to provide water service that meets the secondary water quality standards of the department.

(b) The utility shall create an estimate of the costs and benefits of a plausible solution to each issue identified by the commission.

(c) The utility shall meet with its customers within a time prescribed by the commission to discuss the estimated costs and benefits of and time necessary for implementing a plausible solution for each quality of water service issue identified, and the utility shall report the results of such meetings to the commission.

(d) The utility shall inform the commission, if:
1. The customers and the utility agree on a solution for each quality of water service issue identified, of each agreed-on solution and the cost of each solution; or

2. The customers and the utility prefer a different solution to at least one of the quality of water service issues identified, of the preferred solutions by each and the cost of each solution.

(e) The commission may require the utility to implement a solution that is in the best interest of the customers for each quality of water service issue. The utility may recover its costs in implementing the solutions ordered by the commission. The commission may establish the necessary benchmarks that a utility must meet for each solution and require the utility to report periodically until each solution is completed.

(3) Notwithstanding s. 367.072, customers may not petition the commission to revoke the certificate of authorization of a utility if it is the subject of a proceeding under this chapter.

(4) The commission may prescribe penalties for a utility’s failure to adequately resolve each quality of water service issue as required. Penalties may include penalties as provided in s. 367.161, a reduction of return on equity of up to 100 basis points, the denial of all or part of a rate increase for a utility’s system or part of a system if it determines that the quality of water service is less than satisfactory until the quality of water is found to be satisfactory, or revocation of the certificate of authorization pursuant to s. 367.072.

(5) The commission shall adopt rules to assess and enforce compliance with this section.

History.—s. 2, ch. 2014-68.

367.0813 Gain or loss on purchase or condemnation by governmental authority.—In order to provide appropriate incentives to encourage the private sector to participate in the investment in water and wastewater infrastructure, to protect private sector property rights of a utility’s shareholders, and to avoid an additional burden of costs placed on ratepayers by relitigating this issue, the Legislature affirms and clarifies the clear policy of this state that gains or losses from a purchase or condemnation of a utility’s assets which results in the loss of customers served by such assets and the associated future revenue streams shall be borne by the shareholders of the utility. This section applies to all transactions prior to and after the effective date of this section.
History.—s. 2, ch. 2004-336.

367.0814 Staff assistance in changing rates and charges; interim rates.—
(1) The commission may establish rules by which a water or wastewater utility whose gross annual revenues are $250,000 or less may request and obtain staff assistance for the purpose of changing its rates and charges. A utility may request staff assistance by filing an application with the commission. The gross annual revenue level shall be adjusted on July 1, 2013, and every 5 years thereafter, based on the most recent cumulative 5 years of the price index established by the commission pursuant to s. 367.081(4)(a).

(2) The official date of filing is established as 30 days after official acceptance by the commission of the application. If a utility does not remit a fee, as provided by s. 367.145, within 30 days after acceptance, the commission may deny the application. The commission has 15 months after the official date of filing within which to issue a final order.

(3) The provisions of s. 367.081(1), (2)(a), and (3) shall apply in determining the utility’s rates and charges.

(4) The commission may, upon its own motion, or upon petition from the regulated utility, authorize the collection of interim rates until the effective date of the final order. Such interim rates may be based upon a test period different from the test period used in the request for permanent rate relief. To establish interim relief, there must be a demonstration that the operation and maintenance expenses exceed the revenues of the regulated utility, and interim rates shall not exceed the level necessary to cover operation and maintenance expenses as defined by the Uniform System of Accounts for Class C Water and Wastewater Utilities (1996) of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

(5) The commission may require that the difference between the interim rates and the previously authorized rates be collected under bond, escrow, letter of credit, or corporate undertaking subject to refund with interest at a rate ordered by the commission.

(6) The utility, in requesting staff assistance, shall agree to accept the final rates and charges approved by the commission unless the final rates and charges produce less revenue than the existing rates and charges.

(7) In the event of a protest or appeal by a party other than the utility, the commission may provide for temporary rates subject to refund with interest.

(8) If a utility becomes exempt from commission regulation or jurisdiction during the pendency of a staff-assisted rate case, the request for rate relief is deemed to have been withdrawn. Interim rates, if previously approved, shall become final. Temporary rates, if previously approved, must be discontinued, and any money collected pursuant to the temporary rates, or the difference between temporary and interim rates, if previously approved, must be refunded to the customers of the utility with interest.

(9) The commission may by rule establish standards and procedures whereby rates and charges of small utilities may be set using criteria other than those set forth in s. 367.081(1), (2)(a), and (3).

(10) The commission shall submit to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2013, and every 5 years thereafter, a report of the status of proceedings conducted under this section, including the number of utilities eligible to request staff assistance, the number of proceedings conducted annually for the most recent 5-year period, the associated impact on commission resources, and any other information the commission deems appropriate.

History.—ss. 8, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 7, ch. 99-319; s. 1, ch. 2008-56.

367.0816 Recovery of rate case expenses.—The amount of rate case expense determined by the commission pursuant to the provisions of this chapter to be recovered through a public utilities rate shall be apportioned for recovery over a period of 4 years. At the conclusion of the recovery period, the rate of the public utility shall be reduced immediately by the amount of rate case expense previously included in rates.
History.—s. 9, ch. 89-353; s. 1, ch. 90-192; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 6, ch. 99-319; s. 3, ch. 2001-145.

367.0817 Reuse projects.—
(1) A utility may submit a reuse project plan for commission approval. A reuse project plan shall include:
(a) A description of the project and other effluent disposal options considered by the utility.

(b) Copies of the pertinent Department of Environmental Protection and water management district permit applications filed or, in lieu thereof, a statement of the project’s permit status.

(c) A statement that the reuse project is required or recommended pursuant to s. 403.064 or other relevant authority.

(d) The number and identity of the project’s proposed reuse customer(s) and copies of written agreements, if any, between the utility and the customer(s) regarding the project.

(e) The projected costs associated with the reuse project. As used in this section, the term “costs” includes, but is not limited to, all capital investments, including a rate of return, any applicable taxes, and all expenses related to or resulting from the reuse project which were not considered in the utility’s last rate proceeding.

(f) The utility’s proposal for recovering the project’s costs through rates.

(g) A proposed inservice schedule for the project.

(h) Any other information the commission may require pursuant to rule.

(2) The commission shall review the utility’s reuse project plan and shall determine whether the projected costs are prudent and the proposed rates are reasonable and in the public interest. The commission shall issue a proposed agency action order to approve or disapprove the utility’s reuse project plan. The commission shall enter its vote on the proposed agency action within 5 months of the date of filing. If the commission’s proposed action is protested, the final decision shall be rendered by the commission within 8 months of the date the protest is filed.

(3) All prudent costs of a reuse project shall be recovered in rates. The Legislature finds that reuse benefits water, wastewater, and reuse customers. The commission shall allow a utility to recover the costs of a reuse project from the utility’s water, wastewater, or reuse customers or any combination thereof as deemed appropriate by the commission.

(4) The commission’s order approving the reuse project plan shall approve rates based on projected costs and shall provide for the implementation of rates without the need for a subsequent proceeding. The commission shall allow the approved rates to be implemented when the reuse project plan is approved or when the project is placed in service. If the commission allows the rates to be implemented when the plan is approved, the commission may order the utility to escrow the resulting revenues until the project is placed in service. Escrowed revenues shall be used exclusively for the reuse project.

(5) If the commission allows the rates to be implemented when the plan is approved, the utility may place its proposed rates into effect on a temporary basis, subject to refund, in the event of a protest by a party other than the utility. If the utility has requested rate implementation upon approval of the plan and the commission has exceeded the time allowed in subsection (2), the utility may place its proposed rates into effect on a temporary basis, subject to refund.

(6) After the reuse project is placed in service, the commission, by petition or on its own motion, may initiate a proceeding to true-up the costs of the reuse project and the resulting rates.

History.—s. 1, ch. 94-243.

367.082 Interim rates; procedure.—
(1) The commission may, during any proceeding for a change of rates, upon its own motion, upon petition from any party, or by a tariff filing of a utility or a regulated company, authorize the collection of interim rates until the effective date of the final order. Such interim rates may be based upon a test period different from the test period used in the request for permanent rate relief. Upon application by a utility, the commission may use the projected test-year rate base when determining the interim rates or revenues subject to refund. To establish a prima facie entitlement for interim relief, the commission, the petitioning party, the utility, or the regulated company shall demonstrate that the utility or the regulated company is earning outside the range of reasonableness on rate of return calculated in accordance with subsection (5).

(2)(a) In a proceeding for an interim increase in rates, the commission shall authorize, within 60 days of the filing for such relief, the collection of rates sufficient to earn the minimum of the range of rate of return calculated in accordance with subparagraph (5)(b)2. The difference between the interim rates and the previously authorized rates shall be collected under bond, escrow, letter of credit, or corporate undertaking subject to refund with interest at a rate ordered by the commission.

(b) In a proceeding for an interim decrease in rates, the commission shall authorize, within 60 days of the filing for such relief, the continued collection of the previously authorized rates; however, revenues collected under those rates sufficient to reduce the achieved rate of return to the maximum of the rate of return calculated in accordance with subsection (5) shall be placed under bond, escrow, letter of credit, or corporate undertaking subject to refund with interest at a rate ordered by the commission.

(c) The commission shall determine whether escrow, letter of credit, or corporate undertaking may be filed in lieu of the bond.

(3) In granting such relief, the commission may, in an expedited hearing but within 60 days of the commencement of the proceeding, upon petition or upon its own motion, preclude the recovery of any extraordinary or imprudently incurred expenditures or, for good cause shown, increase the amount of the bond, escrow, letter of credit, or corporate undertaking.

(4) Any refund ordered by the commission shall be calculated to reduce the rate of return of the utility or regulated company during the pendency of the proceeding to the same level within the range of the newly authorized rate of return which is found fair and reasonable on a prospective basis, but the refund shall not be in excess of the amount of the revenues collected subject to refund and in accordance with paragraph (2)(b). In addition, the commission may require interest on the refund at a rate established by the commission.

(5)(a) In setting interim rates or setting revenues subject to refund, the commission shall determine the revenue deficiency or excess by calculating the difference between the achieved rate of return of a utility or regulated company and its required rate of return applied to an average investment rate base or an end-of-period investment rate base.

(b) For purposes of this subsection:
1. “Achieved rate of return” means the rate of return earned by the company for the most recent 12-month period. The achieved rate of return shall be calculated by applying appropriate adjustments consistent with those which were used in the most recent individual rate proceeding of the utility or regulated company and annualizing any rate changes occurring during such period.

2. “Required rate of return” shall be calculated as the weighted average cost of capital for the most recent 12-month period, using the last authorized rate of return on equity of the utility or regulated company, the current embedded cost of fixed-rate capital, the actual cost of short-term debt, the actual cost of variable-cost debt, and the actual cost of other sources of capital which were used in the last individual rate proceeding of the utility or regulated company.

3. In a proceeding for an interim increase, the term “last authorized rate of return on equity” used in subparagraph 2. means the minimum of the range of the last authorized rate of return on equity established in the most recent individual rate proceeding of the utility or regulated company. In a proceeding for an interim decrease, the term “last authorized rate of return on equity” used in subparagraph 2. means the maximum of the range of the last authorized rate of return on equity established in the most recent individual rate proceeding of the utility or regulated company. The last authorized return on equity for purposes of this subsection shall be established only: in the most recent rate case of the utility; in a limited scope proceeding for the individual utility; by voluntary stipulation of the utility approved by the commission; or pursuant to s. 367.081(4)(f).

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the commission from authorizing interim rates for a utility which does not have an authorized rate of return previously established by the commission.

(7) If a utility becomes exempt from commission regulation during the pendency of a rate case, the request for rate relief pending before the commission is deemed to have been withdrawn. Interim rates, if previously approved, must be discontinued, and any money collected pursuant to interim rate relief must be refunded to the customers of the utility with interest.

History.—ss. 11, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 9, 15, ch. 82-25; ss. 10, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 9, ch. 93-35; s. 8, ch. 99-319.

367.0822 Limited proceedings.—
(1) Upon petition or by its own motion, the commission may conduct limited proceedings to consider, and act upon, any matter within its jurisdiction, including any matter the resolution of which requires a utility to adjust its rates. The commission shall determine the issues to be considered during such a proceeding and may grant or deny any request to expand the scope of the proceeding to include other related matters. However, unless the issue of rate of return is specifically addressed in the limited proceeding, the commission shall not adjust rates if the effect of the adjustment would be to change the last authorized rate of return.

(2) An application for a limited proceeding must be accompanied by a fee as provided by s. 367.145.

History.—ss. 4, 8, ch. 84-149; ss. 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 90-166; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.083 Determination of official date of filing.—Within 30 days after receipt of an application, rate request, or other written document for which an official date of filing is to be established, the commission or its designee shall either determine the official date of filing or issue a statement of deficiencies to the applicant, specifically listing why said applicant has failed to meet the minimum filing requirements. Such statement of deficiencies shall be binding upon the commission to the extent that, once the deficiencies in the statement are satisfied, the official date of filing shall be promptly established as provided herein. Thereafter, within 20 days after the applicant indicates to the commission that it believes that it has met the minimum filing requirements, the commission or its designee shall either determine the official date of filing or issue another statement of deficiencies, specifically listing why the requirements have not been met, in which case this procedure shall be repeated until the applicant meets the minimum filing requirements and the official date of filing is established. When the commission initiates a proceeding, the official date of filing shall be the date upon which the order initiating the proceeding is issued.
History.—ss. 4, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 11, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.084 Rate adjustment orders.—Any order issued by the commission adjusting general increases or reductions of the rates and charges of any utility or regulated company must be reduced to writing including any dissenting or concurring opinions within 20 days after the official vote of the commission. Within such 20-day period, the commission shall also mail a copy to the clerk of the circuit court of each county in which customers of the utility or regulated company are served who are affected by the rate adjustment, which copy must be kept on file and made available to the public. The commission shall notify all parties of record in the proceeding of the date of such mailing. Such an order is not considered rendered for purposes of appeal, rehearing, or judicial review until the date the copies are mailed as required by this section. This provision does not delay the effective date of the order. Such an order is considered rendered on the date of the official vote for the purposes of s. 367.081(6).
History.—ss. 12, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.091 Rates, tariffs; new class of service.—
(1) All applications for new rates or changes in rates must be made to the commission in writing as prescribed by rule.

(2) Upon filing an application for new rates, the utility shall mail a copy of the application to the chief executive officer of the governing body of each county within the service areas included in the rate request. The governing body may petition the commission for leave to intervene in the rate change proceeding, and the commission shall grant intervenor status to any governing body that files a petition.

(3) Each utility’s rates, charges, and customer service policies must be contained in a tariff approved by and on file with the commission.

(4) A utility may only impose and collect those rates and charges approved by the commission for the particular class of service involved. A change in any rate schedule may not be made without commission approval.

(5) If any request for service of a utility shall be for a new class of service not previously approved, the utility may furnish the new class of service and fix and charge just, reasonable, and compensatory rates or charges therefor. A schedule of rates or charges so fixed shall be filed with the commission within 10 days after the service is furnished. The commission may approve such rates or charges as filed or may approve such other rates or charges for the new class of service which it finds are just, reasonable, and compensatory.

(6) An application to establish, increase, or change a rate or charge other than the monthly rates for service pursuant to s. 367.081 or service availability charges pursuant to s. 367.101 must be accompanied by a cost justification. The commission may withhold consent to the operation of any or all portions of the new rate schedules, by a vote to that effect within 60 days giving a reason or statement of good cause for withholding its consent. The commission shall render its final decision on the application within 8 months after the official date of filing.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 53, ch. 78-95; ss. 12, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 13, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 10, ch. 99-319.

367.101 Charges for service availability.—
(1) The commission shall set just and reasonable charges and conditions for service availability. The commission by rule may set standards for and levels of service-availability charges and service-availability conditions. Such charges and conditions shall be just and reasonable. The commission shall, upon request or upon its own motion, investigate agreements or proposals for charges and conditions for service availability.

(2) An application for approval of charges and conditions for service availability shall be accompanied by a fee as provided by s. 367.145.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 53, ch. 78-95; ss. 13, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.111 Service.—
(1) Each utility shall provide service to the area described in its certificate of authorization within a reasonable time. If the commission finds that any utility has failed to provide service to any person reasonably entitled thereto, or finds that extension of service to any such person could be accomplished only at an unreasonable cost and that addition of the deleted area to that of another utility company is economical and feasible, it may amend the certificate of authorization to delete the area not served or not properly served by the utility, or it may rescind the certificate of authorization. If utility service has not been provided to any part of the area which a utility is authorized to serve, whether or not there has been a demand for such service, within 5 years after the date of authorization for service to such part, such authorization may be reviewed and amended or revoked by the commission.

(2) Each utility shall provide to each person reasonably entitled thereto such safe, efficient, and sufficient service as is prescribed by part VI of chapter 403 and parts I and II of chapter 373, or rules adopted pursuant thereto; but such service shall not be less safe, less efficient, or less sufficient than is consistent with the approved engineering design of the system and the reasonable and proper operation of the utility in the public interest. If the commission finds that a utility has failed to provide its customers with water or wastewater service that meets the standards promulgated by the Department of Environmental Protection or the water management districts, the commission may reduce the utility’s return on equity until the standards are met.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 53, ch. 78-95; ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-49; ss. 14, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 15, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 10, ch. 93-35; s. 185, ch. 94-356.

367.121 Powers of commission.—
(1) In the exercise of its jurisdiction, the commission shall have power:
(a) To prescribe fair and reasonable rates and charges, classifications, standards of quality and measurements, and to prescribe service rules to be observed by each utility, except to the extent such authority is expressly given to another state agency.

(b) To prescribe, by rule, a uniform system and classification of accounts for all utilities, which rules, among other things, shall establish adequate, fair, and reasonable depreciation rates and charges.

(c) To require such regular or emergency reports from a utility, including, but not limited to, financial reports, as the commission deems necessary and, if the commission finds a financial report to be incomplete, incorrect, or inconsistent with the uniform system and classification of accounts, to require a new report or a supplemental report, either of which the commission may require to be certified by an independent certified public accountant licensed under chapter 473.

(d) To require repairs, improvements, additions, and extensions to any facility, or to require the construction of a new facility, if reasonably necessary to provide adequate and proper service to any person entitled to service or if reasonably necessary to provide any prescribed quality of service, except that no utility shall be required to extend its service outside the geographic area described in its certificate of authorization, or make additions to its plant or equipment to serve outside such area, unless the commission first finds that the utility is financially able to make such additional investment without impairing its capacity to serve its existing customers.

(e) 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.

(f) To adopt, by affirmative vote of a majority of the commission, rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

(g) To exercise all judicial powers, issue all writs, and do all things necessary or convenient to the full and complete exercise of its jurisdiction and the enforcement of its orders and requirements.

(h) To order interconnections of service or facilities between utilities, and to approve any plant capacity charges or wholesale service charges or rates related thereto, provided the commission first finds that the utility is financially able to make such additional investment as is required without impairing its capacity to serve its existing customers.

(i) To 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.

(j) To seek relief in circuit court including temporary and permanent injunctions, restraining orders, or any other appropriate order, because the Legislature finds that violations of commission orders or rules, in connection with the impairment of a utility’s operations or service, constitute irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law. 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.

(k) To assess a utility for reasonable travel costs associated with reviewing the records of the utility and its affiliates when such records are kept out of state. The utility may bring the records back into the state for review.

(2) The commission or its duly authorized representatives may, during all reasonable hours, enter upon any premises occupied by any utility and set up and use thereon any necessary apparatus and appliance for the purpose of making investigations, inspections, examinations, and tests and exercising any power conferred by this chapter. Such utility shall have the right to be notified of and be represented at the making of such investigations, inspections, examinations, and tests.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 53, ch. 78-95; ss. 15, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 16, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 11, ch. 93-35; s. 73, ch. 98-200.

367.1213 Adequate land ownership; commission rulemaking authority.—A utility under the Water and Wastewater System Regulatory Law must own the land or possess the right to continued use of the land upon which treatment facilities are located. The commission shall adopt rules in accordance with this section.
History.—s. 2, ch. 98-42.

367.1214 Utility name change; notification; commission rulemaking authority.—A water and wastewater utility shall notify the commission and its customers before changing its name. The commission may adopt rules that a water and wastewater utility must follow when giving this notice to its customers.
History.—s. 3, ch. 98-42.

367.122 Examination and testing of meters.—
(1) The commission may provide for the examination and testing of all meters used for measuring any product or service of a utility.

(2) Any customer or user may have any such meter tested by the utility upon payment of the fee fixed by the commission.

(3) The commission shall establish reasonable fees to be paid for testing such meters on the request of the customers. Current utility customers or users may, at their discretion, pay the fee fixed by the commission at the time of the request or have the utility include the fee with their next regularly scheduled statement. However, the fee shall be paid by the utility and repaid to the customer or user if the meter is found defective or incorrect to the disadvantage of the customer 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. No fee may be charged for any such testing done by the commission or its representatives.

(4) The commission may purchase materials, apparatus, and standard measuring instruments for such examinations and tests.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 100, ch. 73-333; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 16, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 17, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.123 Service for resale.—The commission may require a utility to provide service for resale. However, before requiring the provision of service, the commission shall first find that the utility is financially able to make such additional investment as is required without impairing its capacity to serve its existing customers. Any utility which provides service for resale shall provide such service upon terms and conditions established by the commission, and no utility shall discontinue such service without the approval of the commission. In the event a governmental authority voluntarily enters into an agreement for resale, such agreement shall provide that the service will not be discontinued without 90 days’ notice being given to the purchaser prior to discontinuing such service. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the governmental authority from requiring adequate security being given to such authority to ensure payments required in the agreement.
History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 17, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; s. 218, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 18, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.145 Regulatory assessment and application fees.—
(1) The commission shall set by rule a regulatory assessment fee that each utility must pay in accordance with s. 350.113(3); however, each small utility with annual revenues of less than $200,000 shall pay once a year in conjunction with filing its annual financial report required by commission rule. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the amount of the regulatory assessment fee shall not exceed 4.5 percent of the gross revenues of the utility derived from intrastate business, excluding sales for resale made to a regulated company.
(a) A governmental authority to which ownership or control of a utility is transferred is not liable for any fees owed the commission by the utility as of the date of transfer. However, whenever a purchase at wholesale is made of any water or wastewater service and a fee is paid or payable thereon by the selling utility and the utility purchasing such water or wastewater service resells the same directly to customers, the purchasing utility is entitled to, and must receive, credit on such fees as may be due by it under this section to the extent of the fee paid or payable upon such water or wastewater service by the utility from which such purchase was made. All such fee payments and penalties must be deposited in accordance with s. 350.113.

(b) In addition to the penalties and interest otherwise provided, the commission may impose a penalty upon a utility for failure to pay regulatory assessment fees in a timely manner in accordance with s. 367.161.

(2) Each utility shall pay an application fee, established by the commission, for an original certificate of authorization; an amendment to an existing certificate of authorization; a request for rate relief in accordance with s. 367.081 or s. 367.0814; a proceeding pursuant to s. 367.0822; service availability charges filed in accordance with s. 367.101; and when this chapter becomes applicable to a county in accordance with s. 367.171. The amount of the application fee determined by the commission may not exceed $4,500 and must be based upon the existing or proposed capacity of the system, extension, or deletion. All such fee payments must be deposited in accordance with s. 350.113.

(3) Fees collected by the commission pursuant to this section may only be used to cover the cost of regulating water and wastewater systems. Fees collected by the commission pursuant to chapters 364 and 366 may not be used to pay the cost of regulating water and wastewater systems.

History.—ss. 19, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 5, ch. 90-166; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 4, ch. 2004-336.

367.156 Public utility records; confidentiality.—
(1) The commission shall continue to have reasonable access to all utility records and records of affiliated companies, including its parent company, regarding transactions or cost allocations among the utility and such affiliated companies, and such records necessary to ensure that a utility’s ratepayers do not subsidize nonutility activities. Upon request of the utility or any other person, any records received by the commission which are shown and found by the commission to be proprietary confidential business information shall be kept confidential and shall be exempt from s. 119.07(1).

(2) Discovery in any docket or proceeding before the commission shall be in the manner provided for in Rule 1.280 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Information which affects a utility’s rates or cost of service shall be considered relevant for purposes of discovery in any docket or proceeding where the utility’s rates or cost of service are at issue. The commission shall determine whether information requested in discovery affects a utility’s rates or cost of service. Upon showing by a utility or other person and a finding by the commission that discovery will require the disclosure of proprietary confidential business information, the commission shall issue appropriate protective orders designating the manner for handling such information during the course of the proceeding and for protecting such information from disclosure outside the proceeding. Such proprietary confidential business information shall be exempt from s. 119.07(1). Any records provided pursuant to a discovery request for which proprietary confidential business information status is requested shall be treated by the commission and the office of the Public Counsel and any other party subject to the public records act as confidential and shall be exempt from s. 119.07(1), pending a formal ruling on such request by the commission or the return of the records to the person providing the records. Any record which has been determined to be proprietary confidential business information and is not entered into the official record of the proceeding must be returned to the person providing the record within 60 days after the final order, unless the final order is appealed. If the final order is appealed, any such record must be returned within 30 days after the decision on appeal. The commission shall adopt the necessary rules to implement this provision.

(3) Proprietary confidential business information means information, regardless of form or characteristics, which is owned or controlled by the person or company, is intended to be and is treated by the person or company as private in that the disclosure of the information would cause harm to the ratepayers or the person’s or company’s business operations, and has not been disclosed unless disclosed pursuant to a statutory provision, an order of a court or administrative body, or a private agreement that provides that the information will not be released to the public. Proprietary business information includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Trade secrets.

(b) Internal auditing controls and reports of internal auditors.

(c) Security measures, systems, or procedures.

(d) Information concerning bids or other contractual data, the disclosure of which would impair the efforts of the utility or its affiliates to contract for goods or services on favorable terms.

(e) Information relating to competitive interests, the disclosure of which would impair the competitive businesses of the provider of the information.

(f) Employee personnel information unrelated to compensation, duties, qualifications, or responsibilities.

(4) Any finding by the commission that records contain proprietary confidential business information is effective for a period set by the commission not exceeding 18 months, unless the commission finds, for good cause, that the protection from disclosure shall be for a specified longer period. The commission shall order the return of records containing proprietary confidential business information when such records are no longer necessary for the commission to conduct its business. At that time, the commission shall order any other person holding such records to return them to the person providing the records. Records containing proprietary confidential business information which have not been returned at the conclusion of the period set pursuant to this subsection shall no longer be exempt from s. 119.07(1), unless the public utility or affected person shows, and the commission finds, that the records continue to contain proprietary confidential business information. Upon such finding, the commission may extend the period for confidential treatment for a period not to exceed 18 months, unless the commission finds, for good cause, that the protection from disclosure shall be for a specified longer period. During commission consideration of an extension, the records in question will remain exempt from s. 119.07(1). The commission shall adopt rules to implement this provision which shall include notice to the public utility or affected person regarding the expiration of confidential treatment.

History.—ss. 10, 15, ch. 82-25; ss. 20, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 169, ch. 96-406.

367.161 Penalties.—
(1) If any utility, by any authorized officer, agent, or employee, knowingly refuses to comply with, or willfully violates, any provision of this chapter or any lawful rule or order of the commission, such utility shall incur a penalty for each such offense of not more than $5,000, to be fixed, imposed, and collected by the commission. However, any penalty assessed by the commission for a violation of s. 367.111(2) shall be reduced by any penalty assessed by any other state agency for the same violation. Each day that such refusal or violation continues constitutes a separate offense. Each penalty shall be a lien upon the real and personal property of the utility, enforceable by the commission as statutory liens under chapter 85. The proceeds from the enforcement of any such lien shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.

(2) The commission has the power to impose upon any entity that is subject to its jurisdiction under this chapter and that is found to have refused to comply with, or to have willfully violated, any lawful rule or order of the commission or any provision of this chapter a penalty for each offense of not more than $5,000, which penalty shall be fixed, imposed, and collected by the commission; or the commission may, for any such violation, amend, suspend, or revoke any certificate of authorization issued by it. Each day that such refusal or violation continues constitutes a separate offense. Each penalty shall be a lien upon the real and personal property of the entity, enforceable by the commission as a statutory lien under chapter 85. The collected penalties shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund unallocated.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 21, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 6, 8, ch. 84-149; ss. 21, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.165 Abandonment.—It is the intent of the Legislature that water or wastewater service to the customers of a utility not be interrupted by the abandonment or placement into receivership of the utility. To that end:
(1) No person, lessee, trustee, or receiver owning, operating, managing, or controlling a utility shall abandon the utility without giving 60 days’ notice to the county or counties in which the utility is located and to the commission. Anyone who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Each day of such abandonment constitutes a separate offense. In addition, such act is a violation of this chapter, and the commission may impose upon the utility a penalty for each such offense of not more than $5,000 or may amend, suspend, or revoke its certificate of authorization; each day of such abandonment without prior notice constitutes a separate offense.

(2) After receiving such notice, the county, or counties acting jointly if more than one county is affected, shall petition the circuit court of the judicial circuit in which such utility is domiciled to appoint a receiver, which may be the governing body of a political subdivision or any other person deemed appropriate. The receiver shall operate the utility from the date of abandonment until such time as the receiver disposes of the property of the utility in a manner designed to continue the efficient and effective operation of utility service.

(3) The notification to the commission under subsection (1) is sufficient cause for revocation, suspension, or amendment of the certificate of authorization of the utility as of the date of abandonment. The receiver operating such utility shall be considered to hold a temporary authorization from the commission, and the approved rates of the utility shall be deemed to be the interim rates of the receiver until modified by the commission.

History.—ss. 23, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 7, ch. 84-149; ss. 22, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 51, ch. 91-224; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

367.171 Effectiveness of this chapter.—
(1) The provisions of this chapter shall become effective in a county of this state upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of county commissioners of such county, or, in counties operating under a countywide charter, by the appropriate board, declaring that such county is subject to the provisions of this chapter. Any board of county commissioners which adopts such a resolution shall immediately notify the commission of its adoption and submit the resolution to the commission. A county, after 10 continuous years under the jurisdiction of the commission, may by resolution or ordinance rescind any prior resolution or ordinance imposing commission jurisdiction and thereby exclude itself from the provisions of this chapter, except that the county may not exclude itself from the provisions of this section.

(2)(a) Within 30 days after this chapter becomes applicable to a county, each utility shall register by filing with the commission a written statement setting forth the full legal name of the utility, its mailing address, and a brief description of its service area.

(b) On the day this chapter becomes applicable to any county, any utility engaged in the operation or construction of a system shall be entitled to receive a certificate for the area served by such utility on the day this chapter becomes applicable to it. Within 90 days after the day this chapter becomes applicable to it, the utility shall make application for a certificate by filing with the commission:
1. A map of its existing system or system under construction;

2. A description of the area served by the system; and

3. A tariff listing all rates and charges and such other financial information as may be required by the commission.

Such application shall be accompanied by a fee as provided by s. 367.145. If a utility fails to register with the commission within the prescribed time, the commission may require that the utility apply for an original certificate of authorization in accordance with s. 367.045.

(c) Before the commission issues a certificate of authorization under paragraph (b), it may establish the amount of money prudently invested in property of the utility, which property is used and useful in the public service; may establish other elements of the rate base; and may set and approve rates pursuant to s. 367.081.

(3) In consideration of the variance of powers, duties, responsibilities, population, and size of municipalities of the several counties and in consideration of the fact that every county varies from every other county and thereby affects the functions, duties, and responsibilities required of its county officers and the scope of responsibilities which each county may, at this time, undertake, the Counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Calhoun, Charlotte, Collier, Dixie, Escambia, Flagler, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Indian River, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Polk, St. Lucie, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, and Walton are excluded from the provisions of this chapter until such time as the board of county commissioners of any such county, acting pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1), makes this chapter applicable to such county or until the Legislature, by appropriate act, removes one or more of such counties from this exclusion.

(4) As of the day a utility is no longer regulated by the commission under this chapter, each such utility which is engaged in the operation or construction of a system shall be entitled to receive from the county in which it is located and operating a certificate of authorization for each area for which such utility held a certificate of authorization from the commission on the day the utility became subject to regulation by the county. The utility will make application by filing with the governing body of the county:
(a) A map of its existing system or system under construction;

(b) A certified copy of the certificate of authorization issued by the commission, including a legal description of the service area for which the certificate of authorization was issued;

(c) A tariff, listing all rates and charges then in effect, which shall remain in effect until thereafter lawfully changed;

(d) A copy of the operating regulations and procedures of the utility then in effect, which shall remain in effect until thereafter lawfully changed; and

(e) The then-current rate base of the utility, which shall then continue to be the rate base of the utility until thereafter lawfully changed.

(5) When a utility becomes subject to regulation by a county, all cases in which the utility is a party then pending before the commission, or in any court by appeal from any order of the commission, shall remain within the jurisdiction of the commission or court until disposed of in accordance with the law in effect on the day such case was filed by any party with the commission or initiated by the commission, whether or not the parties or the subject of any such case relates to a utility in a county wherein this chapter no longer applies.

(6) Any county in which utilities as herein defined were regulated by the commission on or after January 1, 1980, which subsequently cease to be so regulated, shall, within 90 days of the cessation of commission regulation, adopt and follow as minimum standards of regulation the provisions of s. 367.081, except for paragraph (4)(a), and s. 367.082, except that the word “commission” shall be read as “the governing body of such county” when the context implies or admits. The authorized rate of return shall be no less than the weighted cost of the capital of the utility, including debt and equity.

(7) Notwithstanding anything in this section to the contrary, the commission shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all utility systems whose service transverses county boundaries, whether the counties involved are jurisdictional or nonjurisdictional, except for utility systems that are subject to, and remain subject to, interlocal utility agreements in effect as of January 1, 1991, that create a single governmental authority to regulate the utility systems whose service transverses county boundaries, provided that no such interlocal agreement shall divest commission jurisdiction over such systems, any portion of which provides service within a county that is subject to commission jurisdiction under this section.

(8) Each county which is excluded from the provisions of this chapter shall regulate the rates of all utilities in that county which would otherwise be subject to regulation by the commission pursuant to s. 367.081(1), (2), (3), and (6). The county shall not regulate the rates or charges of any system or facility which would otherwise be exempt from commission regulation pursuant to s. 367.022(2). For this purpose the county or its agency shall proceed as though the county or agency is the commission.

History.—s. 1, ch. 71-278; s. 1, ch. 73-193; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 22, 25, 26, ch. 80-99; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 15, ch. 82-25; s. 4, ch. 85-85; ss. 23, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 6, ch. 90-166; s. 1, ch. 90-350; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 11, ch. 96-202; s. 1, ch. 97-24; s. 13, ch. 2000-350; s. 1, ch. 2001-145; s. 74, ch. 2008-4.

367.182 Saving clause.—All certificates and authorizations valid on the effective date of chapter 80-99, Laws of Florida, shall remain in full force and effect. Henceforth, all certificates and authorizations shall be applied for in accordance with this act.
History.—s. 24, ch. 80-99; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 24, 26, 27, ch. 89-353; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
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