Public Service Commission approves continued funding, appoints new Chairman

by | Nov 9, 2023

  • The Florida Public Service Commission approved funding for 2024 to maintain and improve natural gas pipelines, with programs aimed at replacing aging infrastructure.
  • These programs will lead to increased monthly surcharges for customers starting January 2024, with FPUC users seeing an increase from $0.43 to $0.65 for 20 therms, PGS customers an additional $0.06, and FCG customers an increase from $0.44 to $3.17 or from $0.98 to $5.44 depending on usage.
  • The PSC also appointed Mike La Rosa as its next Chairman, starting Jan. 4, 2024.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday approved continued funding for the maintenance and improvement of the state’s natural gas pipelines with a particular focus on replacing aging infrastructure to enhance operational safety and reliability.

The programs benefiting from the 2024 funding are the Florida Public Utilities Company’s (FPUC) Gas Utility Access and Replacement Directive (GUARD), Peoples Gas System’s (PGS) Cast Iron/Bare Steel Pipe Replacement Rider (Rider), and Florida City Gas’ (FCG) Safety, Access, and Facility Enhancement (SAFE) program.

The GUARD program is set to replace faltering pipelines and improve the placement of gas facilities. The initiative succeeds FPUC’s completed Gas Reliability and Infrastructure Program (GRIP), which has been in place since 2013 to address corrosion issues in distribution mains.

PGS’s Rider program, active since 2013 following its approval in 2012, aims to accelerate the replacement and modernization of outdated gas pipelines. Initiated in 2015, FCG’s SAFE program focuses on relocating gas mains for better accessibility, with completion expected by 2025.

As a result of the PSC’s funding decision, starting January 2024, FPUC customers using 20 therms will see a monthly surcharge of $0.65, a rise from the previous $0.43. PGS customers will be charged an additional $0.06 monthly, and FCG’s SAFE program will increase its surcharge from $0.44 to $3.17 for those using less than 6,000 therms per year, and from $0.98 to $5.44 for higher usage customers.

“Since the inception of these programs, Florida’s natural gas utilities have done an outstanding job of improving the safety and efficiency of their pipeline infrastructure,” said Commissioner Gabriella Passidomo. “I commend each utility’s commitment to customer safety, and I’m pleased that they are continuing to further improve and maintain Florida’s reliable natural gas service.”

During its Thursday meeting, the Commission also appointed former state representative Mike La Rosa as its next Chairman, succeeding Andrew Giles Fay. La Rosa has served as a member of the PSC since 2020 and is slated to serve as its head for a two-year term beginning on Jan. 4, 2024.

“Mike is a legislator with a reputation of being a serious and diligent legislator,” said Commissioner Art Graham. “He can get a lot of things done that some of us can’t.”


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