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Power To The People? Bill Seeks To Ease Post-Storm Outages

A JEA crew works on power restoration in the Egrets Bluee area after Hurricane Irma in Sept. 2017.
JEA
A JEA crew works on power restoration in the Egrets Bluee area after Hurricane Irma in Sept. 2017.

Utilities would have to come up with a 10-year plan to strengthen and bury power lines and be allowed to pass along the cost to customers under a bill passed by the Florida Senate.

The Senate voted 37-2 on Friday for a bill that seeks to reduce the time needed to restore power after hurricanes.

The cost to harden lines would be passed on to customers through a separate item on their bills, rather than through a general rate increase. That means all customers would pay the same, regardless of how much power they use.

Bill sponsor Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Bradenton, said the cost to customers would be minimal compared to long term costs of continually repairing lines after hurricanes.

A companion House bill is awaiting a floor vote.

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