Florida Public Service Commission
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|Jurisdiction||State of Florida|
The Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) regulates investor-owned electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities. In the telecommunications industry, the FPSC facilitates competitive markets, has authority over intercarrier disputes, and oversees pay telephones, the federal Lifeline Assistance Program and Telecommunications Relay Service.
The Florida Public Service Commission consists of ﬁve members appointed by the Governor and conﬁrmed by the Senate. Commissioners serve four-year terms. One commissioner is a designated Chairman, elected by the Commission for a two-year term.
The commissioners are Chairman Julie I. Brown, Lisa Polak Edgar, Ronald A. Brisé, Art Graham, and Jimmy Patronis.
Created by the Florida Legislature in 1887, the FPSC was originally called the Florida Railroad Commission and primarily regulated railroad passenger and freight rates and operations. As Florida grew, the Commission’s purpose expanded.
- 1887- Florida Railroad Commission was established, Chapter 3746
- 1891- Repeal of Chapter 4068, abolishing the Florida Railroad Commission
- 1897- Enactment of Chapter 4700, re-establishing the Florida Railroad Commission
- 1911- Jurisdiction over telephone services added
- 1929- Jurisdiction over motor carrier transportation added
- 1947- Name changed to Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission
- 1951- Jurisdiction over investor-owned electric utilities added
- 1952- Jurisdiction over investor-owned natural gas utilities and safety-only for municipally owned gas utilities added
- 1959- Jurisdiction over privately owned water and wastewater companies added
- 1963- Name changed to Florida Public Utilities Commission
- 1965- Name changed to Florida Public Service Commission
- 1972- Jurisdiction over airlines added[clarification needed]
- 1974- Rate structure jurisdiction over municipal and rural cooperative electric utilities added
- 1978- Airlines were deregulated[clarification needed]
- 1979- Commission composition changed from three elected to five appointed Commissioners
- 1980- Motor carriers were deregulated[who?]
- 1985- Railroads were deregulated[who?]
- 1986- Safety jurisdiction over all electric utilities added
- 1992- Jurisdiction over intrastate natural gas pipelines added
- 1995- Legislature opened up local telecommunications market to increased competition
2011- The Commission's jurisdiction over telecommunications was reduced
The Florida Public Service Commission consists of five members selected for their knowledge and experience in one or more fields. These fields include economics, accounting, engineering, finance, natural resource conservation, energy, public affairs, and law.
A Commissioner is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners serve terms of four years. Prior to 1979, three Commissioners were elected in a statewide election. The 1978 Legislature changed the Commission to a five-member appointed board.
The Chairman is the chief administrative officer of the Commission, presiding at all hearings and conferences when present, setting Commission hearings, and performing those duties prescribed by law. The Chairman is elected by the Commission.
Florida Public Service Commissioners
Chairman Julie Imanuel Brown was reappointed to the Florida Public Service Commission by Governor Rick Scott for a four-year term beginning January 2, 2015 and ending January 1, 2019. Elected to Chair the Commission, effective January 2, 2016, she will serve as Commission Chairman until January 2018. Chairman Brown was first appointed to the Commission by Governor Charlie Crist and was reappointed by Governor Rick Scott for a four-year term beginning January 2, 2011. Prior to her appointment, she was Associate Legal Counsel of First American Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, where she handled a variety of legal issues in the Eastern, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic Regions, including corporate compliance with regulatory authorities.
Previously an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Tampa, Chairman Brown specialized in contract, regulatory and administrative law while acting as legal advisor to the City of Tampa for wastewater, stormwater, land development coordination, and other matters. She also worked as a corporate attorney at Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick, LLP in Tampa, Florida, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and securities law.
Chairman Brown is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and serves on NARUC’s Committee on Gas, Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues–Waste Disposal, and on the Gas Technology Institute’s Public Interest Advisory Committee; she previously served on NARUC’s Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment. A member of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition since 2011, she was recently elected to serve on its Executive Committee to lead the group’s efforts to expand membership.
Chairman Brown chaired the Florida Legislature’s Study Committee on Investor-Owned Water and Wastewater Utility Systems and serves on the New Mexico State University’s Center for Public Utilities Advisory Council. Her civic affiliations have included the City of Tampa’s Architectural Review Commission, the Board of Directors for the Tampa Firefighters Museum, and the Florida Bar’s 13th Judicial Circuit Bar Grievance Committee.
Chairman Brown graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, where she was the recipient of the Outstanding Female Leader award, President of Florida Blue Key, inducted into the Hall of Fame, and received the Dean’s Cup for the College of Journalism and Communications. She earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, is a member of the Florida Bar, and a member of Leadership Florida, Class XXXIII. Her graduate education included study abroad at the University of Montpellier College of Law in France.
Commissioner Lisa Polak Edgar was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) by Governor Jeb Bush for a four-year term beginning January 2005. Governor Charlie Crist reappointed Commissioner Edgar to a second four-year term in 2008, and Governor Rick Scott reappointed her to a third four-year term in 2012. From January 2006 to January 2008, she served as Chairman and participated as a member of the Florida Energy Commission and the Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. Lisa Edgar was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) by Governor Jeb Bush for a four-year term beginning January 2005. Governor Charlie Crist reappointed Commissioner Edgar to a second four-year term in 2008, and Governor Rick Scott reappointed her to a third four-year term in 2012. From January 2006 to January 2008, she served as Chairman and participated as a member of the Florida Energy Commission and the Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change.
In November 2014, Commissioner Edgar was elected President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) for a one-year term. As NARUC President, Commissioner Edgar provides general oversight of the Association and serves as NARUC’s primary voice before Congress, the courts, administrative agencies, and the general public. She is also responsible for designating members to the NARUC Board of Directors, committee leadership positions, and other Association appointments as necessary.
Commissioner Edgar serves on NARUC’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, the Committees on Electricity and Consumer Affairs, and the Task Force on Environmental Regulation and Generation. She is a member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Advisory Council and Executive Committee which advises on research in the generation, delivery, and use of electricity for the public’s benefit. From 2005 through 2009, she served on the Federal Communications Commission Universal Service Joint Board working for efficient, accountable and fiscally responsible use of universal service funds.
Commissioner Edgar has worked to develop policies to strengthen the state’s electric infrastructure to better prepare for, and withstand, storm events; to establish net metering and interconnection rules that encourage customer participation and renewable energy development; to further the diversification of Florida’s fuel supply; to effectively reform the collection and distribution of universal service funds; and to improve customer satisfaction and broaden stakeholder participation.
Prior to joining the PSC, Commissioner Edgar served as Deputy Secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Her responsibilities at DEP included executive management oversight of the agency's $2.1 billion budget, fiscal and strategic planning, accountability measures, information technology, administrative services, Florida Geological Survey, and coordination between the state and federal government on environmental issues, including proposed and existing oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. Commissioner Edgar represented the State of Florida on the Minerals Management Service Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Policy Committee from 1993-2004, and on the Subcommittees on Environmental Studies in OCS Areas under Moratoria and OCS Hard Minerals.
Commissioner Edgar received her Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctorate degrees from Florida State University and is a member of the Florida Bar. She is a member of Leadership Florida and has been involved in many state and community organizations.
Commissioner Ronald A. Brisé was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission by Governor Charlie Crist in July 2010 and was reappointed by Governor Rick Scott for a term through January 2018. He served as Commission Chairman in 2012-2013.
Commissioner Brisé is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and serves in the following capacities: 1st Vice President, Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC); Board of Directors; Committee on Telecommunications; Committee on International Relations; Subcommittee on Utility Market Access; Board of Directors, Universal Service Administrative Company; Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, Federal Communications Commission; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, and the Federal Communications Commission. He previously served on the NARUC Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications. In addition, he is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Utilities Diversity Council.
Before being appointed to the Commission, he represented District 108 in the Florida House of Representatives for four years. During his tenure, Commissioner Brisé was named Democratic Whip and served as Vice Chairman of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators. He gained membership on several committees which produced significant legislation that tackled many of Florida’s most relevant issues including energy, telecommunications, redistricting, appropriations and Medicaid reform. Commissioner Brisé also sponsored successful legislation expanding broadband deployment in Florida to address digital divide as well as legislation improving consumer protection for Floridian families.
Upon graduation from college, Commissioner Brisé taught science at his alma mater, Miami Union Academy. He eventually became responsible for the school’s development and fundraising operations. In 2005, he became the Chief Operating Officer at a VoIP telecommunications carrier.
Commissioner Brisé began his career in public service in North Miami as a member of the North Miami Planning Commission. His civic engagements include Board Member of the North Shore Hospital and past president of the Albert C. Pierre Community Center. He is a member of the NAACP, Leadership Florida and serves on the Board of Directors of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida.
Commissioner Brisé received a bachelor's degree in biology education from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama and received MBA degrees in management and marketing from American Intercontinental University in Illinois.
Commissioner Art Graham was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission by Governor Charlie Crist in July 2010 and was reappointed by Governor Rick Scott for a term through January 2018. He has served two terms as Commission Chairman: January 2014 through January 2016 and October 2010 through January 2012. During both terms, he worked with his colleagues and industry representatives to find ways to hold down rates for Florida's consumers and businesses.
Commissioner Graham is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). In January 2015, he was appointed Co-Vice Chair of the NARUC Committee on Water, which he has served on since 2010. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, he served on the Jacksonville City Council. Among his duties as Council Member, Commissioner Graham helped oversee the budget of JEA, a publicly owned electric, water, and wastewater utility, and chaired the Transportation, Energy, and Utilities Committee. He also served on the Jacksonville Beach City Council from 1998 to 2002.
He is a past chair of the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and vice president of the Northeast Florida Regional Council. He was President of ART Environmental Consulting Services from 2005 to 2009, and worked on electric power generating boilers and wastewater reduction as a recovery engineer with Georgia Pacific Pulp and Paper from 1995 to 2002. A sales engineer with Betz PaperChem from 1991 to 1995, Commissioner Graham was a regional sales manager from 1989 to 1991 for Goodyear Tire and Rubber, where he also held an application engineer position from 1988 to 1989.
He received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He is also a 2001 graduate of Leadership Jacksonville and a 2008 graduate of Leadership Florida.
Commissioner Jimmy Patronis was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) by Governor Rick Scott for a four-year term beginning January 2015. Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Patronis represented District 6 (Bay County) in the Florida House of Representatives.
A member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), Commissioner Patronis serves on NARUC’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment.
Commissioner Patronis is recognized for his outstanding leadership in his hometown of Panama City and throughout Florida. He was appointed by Governors Jeb Bush and Lawton Chiles to the Florida Elections Commission. Commissioner Patronis is also a past Chairman and Board Member of the Bay County-Panama City International Airport and Industrial District. Former positions include a bank director, hospital trustee, as well as a board member for many charitable and non-profit organizations.
Commissioner Patronis received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Florida State University. He is a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Bay County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Programs and has been involved in many other state and community organizations. For his outstanding service, he has also received numerous awards and recognitions.
A lifelong resident of Bay County, Commissioner Patronis is a partner in Captain Anderson’s Restaurant and Market, where he works with his father, uncle, and brothers in the well-known family business.
The Florida Legislature established the powers and responsibilities of the Florida Public Service Commission as a regulator of public utilities under its jurisdiction. The Commission is committed to making sure that Florida’s consumers receive some of their most essential services—electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater—in a safe, reasonable, and reliable manner. In doing so, the PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in one or more of three key areas: rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service issues. Those areas are briefly described as follows:
- Rate base/economic regulation involves analyzing requested rate changes and conducting earnings surveillance to ensure that regulated utilities are not exceeding their authorized rates of return;
- Competitive market oversight entails facilitating the development of competitive markets and issues associated with them; and
- Safety, reliability, and service monitoring promotes an uninterrupted supply of utility services to the general public, and confirms that such services are provided in a reasonable and timely manner with minimal risks.
In 2014, the FPSC regulated 5 investor-owned electric companies, 7 investor-owned natural gas utilities, and 149 investor-owned water and/or wastewater utilities and had competitive market oversight for 361 telecommunications companies in Florida.
The FPSC does not regulate the rates and service quality of publicly owned municipal or cooperative electric utilities; however, the Commission does have jurisdiction regarding rate structure, territorial boundaries, bulk power supply operations, and power supply planning over 35 municipally owned electric systems and 18 rural electric cooperatives. The FPSC has jurisdiction regarding territorial boundaries and safety, over 27 municipally owned natural gas utilities and 4 gas districts. In addition, the Commission exercises safety authority over all electric and natural gas systems operating in the state.
By providing effective consumer assistance, protection, and education, the FPSC accomplishes its mission of assisting consumers and educating the public about the changing regulatory environment. The FPSC participates in a variety of outreach events, such as consumer forums, community meetings, and customer meetings and hearings, by presenting pertinent information and distributing a variety of consumer publications. Making sure that consumers have easy access to information ensures that they can make informed decisions about utility services.
The FPSC participates in consumer programs and distributes conservation-related materials through partnerships with governmental entities, consumer groups, and many other organizations.
Each year, the FPSC provides educational brochures to Florida public libraries for consumer distribution. The Commission has recently increased its Library Outreach Campaign participants to educate consumers across the state. Through the program, a variety of FPSC publications highlighting practical energy and water conservation measures are distributed to library patrons throughout the year.
Events to promote energy efficiency and conservation education are annually observed during October’s Energy Action Month, sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Energy.
National Consumer Protection Week observed each year in March, highlights consumer protection and education efforts around the country, and is important to the FPSC’s conservation education efforts.
The Florida Lifeline program is part of the federal Universal Service Program (USP) designed to enable low-income households to obtain and maintain basic local telephone service. The Lifeline program offers qualifying households a minimum $9.25 discount on their monthly phone bills, or a free Lifeline cell phone and monthly minutes from certain wireless providers.
Eighty-eight local, state, and federal agencies, organizations, and businesses, and 22 telecommunications companies were involved in the collaborative effort to increase awareness and participation in the Lifeline program in 2014. Promotional activities in 2014 featured National Lifeline Awareness Week, National Consumer Protection Week, Older American’s Month and ongoing “grass roots” efforts to increase awareness and enrollment in the programs. Each month, the FPSC sends a cover letter and informational packet to two organizations to encourage continued Lifeline outreach to their eligible clientele. In addition, the FPSC attends as least two community events each month to promote Lifeline.
As of June 2014, 957,792 eligible customers participated in the Florida Lifeline program. The six companies with the highest Lifeline enrollment in Florida were SafeLink Wireless, Assurance Wireless, i-wireless, AT&T, CenturyLink, and Verizon with 98.7 percent of the Florida Lifeline customers.
Florida Relay Service
The FPSC oversees the administration of a statewide telecommunications access system to provide access to Telecommunications Relay Services by persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, or others who communicate with them.
In early 2014, AT&T notified the Commission that it was opting out of its contract options, so the FPSC issued a Request for Proposals for a new Relay Service Provider. Based on a competitive bid evaluation process, the Commission awarded a three-year contract with Sprint Communications Company, L.P. (Sprint) to provide telecommunications relay service to the nearly three million hard-of-hearing, deaf, deaf/blind, and speech impaired Floridians. Service begins June 1, 2015. Of the two companies bidding, Sprint received the highest technical rating and offered the lowest overall per-minute cost for service. Sprint was the only bidder proposing to hire an in-state Customer Relations Manager. Sprint also proposed to designate a Florida Relay Quality Manager.