New proposed Florida bill aimed to prevent power outages at cost to customers

New bill proposed regarding storm protection plans in Florida

Power outages are what local families said they remember most about hurricanes Irma and Matthew.

Venita Rainy told Action News Jax, “Waiting for it to come on, but you know you can’t do too much because it’s too hot, too miserable in the house.”

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A bill moving through the Florida House would require Florida utility companies come up with a plan to strengthen their systems, in some situations switching from utility pole to underground power lines.

Former utility worker Joel Roberts said, “If they’re underground and the storm debris falls on top of the ground you gotta clear that stuff off, too.”

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Roberts, who spent three decades in the utility business, said underground lines have plenty of flaws.

He described, “Everything gets you know saturated you have a problem when the water actually breeches the integrity of the underground power lines, you can’t work on that stuff until it dries out.”

He also said they’re expensive to install.

Under the proposed legislation, utility companies could charge customers for the storm protection projects.

Two committees have already approved the Senate version of the bill.