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Utility regulators want to know how COVID-19 has impacted customers

Power lines
Power lines

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Public Service Commission has scheduled a meeting next week to get briefed on the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on utility customers.

During the July 29 meeting, utilities will discuss issues such as the numbers of customers who are late in making payments or who have stopped making payments and the resulting amount of “bad debt,” according to a notice for the meeting.

Early in the pandemic, utilities took steps such as suspending service disconnections for non-payment of bills.

But as the pandemic has continued, at least some utilities are moving toward resuming more-normal business operations.

The Public Service Commission this month also approved a proposal that could lead to Gulf Power Co. passing along coronavirus-related costs to customers in the future.

The approval was an initial step that allows Gulf to start an accounting process for costs of safety-related measures and bad debt from customers not paying bills.

Gulf could ultimately return to the commission to seek approval to recoup the costs.