Florida Senate bill takes on water utilities
By Laura Kinsler
Water customers could petition the state’s Public Service Commission to shut down private, for-profit water and sewer utilities if a new bill sponsored by Pasco state Sen. Wilton Simpson wins approval in the Florida Legislature this session.
Simpson, R-Trilby, sponsored the Consumer Water Protection Act in October but said he has rewritten the bill, which is slated to go before the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities committee Tuesday.
“I wanted to file a bill to put the private utilities on notice,” Simpson said. “I want this to become law — it’s important that it does.”
Under the new provisions, the PSC could cancel a utility company’s certificate of authorization to operate a water or sewer system if 65 percent of its customers sign a petition. If the utility cannot prove it’s operating in the public interest, the PSC could place the system in receivership until it’s sold to another operator.