Fla. Bill Would Stop Private Utilities From Charging More Than Government-Owned Ones

Oct 31, 2013

Water treatment plant
Credit Pam Broviak

It would be illegal for a private water utility to charge higher rates than a government-owned utility in the same Florida county—if a bill making that change passes the state Legislature this year. The bill would also require the state utility regulator to punish utilities that don’t meet minimum water quality standards.

State Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) calls his bill the Consumer Water Protection Act. He says when the Public Service Commission decides whether a utility can raise rates, it should have to consider whether water meets standards for taste, odor and color.

“And some people say, ‘Well it will cost more to meet the secondary water drinking standard,’ and it would if—under certain circumstances, right; they’ve got to put in different filtering systems and things like that, but that’s why the second part of the bill’s in there," Simpson says.

The bill goes on to say the private company can’t charge more than the average rate charged by all government-owned utilities in the same county. It also says it’s up to the Public Service Commission to decide how to enforce the rules, but punishment should include fines for failing to address water quality issues.