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Florida Utility Storm-Protection Costs Draw Challenge

The state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, launched a challenge Monday to the approval of costs that electric utilities would be able to recoup in 2023 from customers for storm-protection projects.
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The state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, launched a challenge Monday to the approval of costs that electric utilities would be able to recoup in 2023 from customers for storm-protection projects.

The Office of Public Counsel filed a notice that is a first step in appealing to the Florida Supreme Court a Dec. 12 order by the state Public Service Commission approving the costs, according to a copy of the notice posted on the commission website.

The notice did not detail arguments that the Office of Public Counsel will make at the Supreme Court.

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But the move came after the Office of Public Counsel last week filed notices that it would challenge the commission’s approval of plans that are used in determining the costs.

The challenges involve plans and costs for Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co.

The issues are tied to a 2019 state law that passed after Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Michael, and other storms caused widespread power outages.

Utilities file 10-year storm-protection plans with the commission and then are able to seek money from customers annually to carry out the plans, which include such things as adding underground power lines.

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