Rep. Randy Fine Proposes Enhanced Electrical Infrastructure Resiliency Program
By Space Coast Daily // February 25, 2019
2019 legislative session will begin on March 5
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) and Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) introduced Public Utility Storm Protection Plans legislation, SB 796/ HB 797 that would improve the resiliency of the state’s electrical infrastructure by providing a framework for increased investment in proven enhancements, including the hardening of electrical equipment and moving more power lines underground.
“Florida is a leader in hurricane resiliency, but three major hurricanes in three years are a stark reminder that we can never rest on our laurels – we have to invest year after year in preparation for the next storm,” said Fine.
“This is especially important when it comes to our state’s electrical infrastructure, which must be able to handle major hurricanes and get back up to full power as soon as possible after a storm strikes.
“The state’s utilities have made important improvements in the past decade, but we need to encourage them to go further with additional hardening and undergrounding. This legislation would create long-term Public Utility Storm Protection Plans to enable more of this work to happen effectively, helping take Florida’s electrical infrastructure resiliency to the next level.”
This bill will be considered in the upcoming 2019 legislative session, which will begin on March 5.
“The stronger our electrical system is, the faster we get back on our feet in the wake of a hurricane,” said Gruters.
“We’ve proven that hardening and undergrounding investments pay off, but the current system is restricted to a short-term view. It’s time to look long-term so we can increase these improvements across the state cost-efficiently.
“The benefits of these types of investments are not limited to hurricane recovery – they also help reduce and shorten power outages every day. These types of investments have been proven to work, and there’s no doubt that they save the state’s economy billions of dollars so this really is a no-brainer.”
Regular sessions of the Legislature begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March and continue for 60 consecutive days, which may be extended by a three-fifths vote of each house.
Special sessions may be called by the Governor or may be convened by joint proclamation of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Special sessions may not exceed 20 days unless extended by a three-fifths vote of each house.
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