Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, Inc., Nos. 93-3324

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtWENTWORTH; ZEHMER, C.J., and DAVIS
Citation656 So.2d 1307
Parties20 Fla. L. Weekly D838 CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA and Cypress and Oaks Villages Association, Appellants, v. SOUTHERN STATES UTILITIES, INC., and The Florida Public Service Commission, Appellees.
Decision Date06 April 1995
Docket NumberNos. 93-3324,93-4089

Page 1307

656 So.2d 1307
20 Fla. L. Weekly D838
CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA and Cypress and Oaks Villages
Association, Appellants,
v.
SOUTHERN STATES UTILITIES, INC., and The Florida Public
Service Commission, Appellees.
Nos. 93-3324, 93-4089.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
April 6, 1995.
As Corrected on Denial of Rehearing June 27, 1995.

Page 1308

Robert A. Butterworth & Michael A. Gross of Office of the Atty. Gen., Tallahassee and Michael B. Twomey, Tallahassee, for appellant Citrus County.

Susan W. Fox of Macfarlane, Ausley, Ferguson & McMullen, Tampa, for appellant Villages Ass'n.

Jack Shreve and Harold McLean of Office of Public Counsel, Tallahassee, for appellant Citizens of Florida.

Kenneth A. Hoffman of Rutledge, Ecenia, Underwood, Purnell & Hoffman, P.A., Tallahassee and Brian P. Armstrong of Southern

Page 1309

States Utilities, Inc., Apopka, for appellee Southern States Utilities.

Robert D. Vandiver & Christiana T. Moore, Tallahassee, for appellee Florida Public Service Com'n.

WENTWORTH, Senior Judge.

This is an appeal from a final order of the Public Service Commission (PSC) adopting uniform statewide rates for 127 water and wastewater utility systems owned by Southern States Utilities, Inc. (SSU). We reverse.

SSU has, over the last decade, bought small independent water and wastewater utilities throughout the states, and currently serves approximately 180,000 customers in Florida. On May 11, 1992, SSU filed an application with the PSC pursuant to chapter 367, Florida Statutes, for authority to increase the water and wastewater rates and charges for 127 of its systems. In its application, SSU proposed that the PSC calculate its new rates on a modified stand-alone basis that would involve a cap on the charge per gallon each customer would pay. The Citizens of Florida intervened through the Office of Public Counsel on May 21, 1992, and Citrus County and Cypress and Oaks Villages Association intervened at a later date.

Before a decision in this case, the PSC conducted ten service hearings throughout the state to permit customer participation in the ratemaking process, and held a technical hearing to receive evidence. On March 22, 1993, the PSC issued its Final Order, approving a 26.77% increase in SSU's annual revenue from its water systems, and a 48.61% increase in revenue from its wastewater systems. The order also approved a new rate structure for SSU in the form of statewide uniform rates for the 75,000 water customers and over 25,000 wastewater customers served by the 127 utility systems involved in this case. In making its decision on rate structure, the Commission cited a number of advantages that would result from the implementation of uniform statewide rates, and found that "the wide disparity of rates calculated on a stand-alone basis, coupled with the above cited benefits of uniform, statewide rates, outweighs the benefits of the traditional approach of setting rates on a stand-alone basis." Numerous motions for reconsideration were filed following the issuance of this order, but each was denied after the Commission staff approved implementation of the increased rates granted in the Final Order by approving revised tariff sheets for the affected SSU systems.

Citrus County and Cypress and Oaks Villages Association appealed the PSC's decision to approve statewide uniform rates for the affected utility systems, arguing that (1) there was no evidence in the record to support such rates; (2) the rates violated section 367.081(2)(a), Florida Statutes; (3) they were denied due process because the statewide uniform rate issue was not properly noticed; (4) the new rate structure resulted in a taking of their contributions-in-aid-of-construction (CIAC); (5) the order violated the doctrine of administrative res judicata; and (6) the staff's implementation of the new rates before the final order became final violated their due process rights. We decline to address each issue separately because we reverse on the ground that the PSC exceeded its statutory authority when it approved uniform statewide rates for the 127 systems involved in this proceeding, based on the...

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6 practice notes
  • Southern States Utilities v. Florida Public Service Com'n, No. 96-4227
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Junio 1998
    ...Public Counsel) contend, however, that the PSC's capband methodology is impermissible under Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, 656 So.2d 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995), and argue that the PSC's use of the methodology requires reversal. On the other hand, Burnt Store Lakes Property Owners......
  • Sugarmill Woods Civic Ass'n, Inc. v. Southern States Utilities, Nos. 95-425
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 4 Febrero 1997
    ...to set rates effective in both jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional counties. See Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, 656 So.2d 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied mem., 663 So.2d 631 (Fla.1995); Board of County Commissioners of St. Johns County v. Beard, 601 So.2d 590 (Fla. 1st DCA......
  • Hernando County v. Florida Public Service Com'n, No. 95-2935
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 12 Diciembre 1996
    ...concluded that service means the physical delivery of water and/or wastewater. See also Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, 656 So.2d 1307, 1310 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied mem., 663 So.2d 631 (Fla.1995)(to satisfy the prerequisites of section 367.171(7), the PSC must find that "t......
  • SUGARMILL WOODS CIVIC ASSOCIATION, INC. v. Florida Water Services …, No. 1D98-727.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 24 Mayo 2001
    ...Services Corporation under a uniform rate structure which had been reversed by this court in Citrus County v. Southern States Utils., 656 So.2d 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995)(Citrus 785 So.2d 722 County). We agree with the Commission's conclusion that, under the highly unusual circumstances of th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Southern States Utilities v. Florida Public Service Com'n, No. 96-4227
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Junio 1998
    ...Public Counsel) contend, however, that the PSC's capband methodology is impermissible under Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, 656 So.2d 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995), and argue that the PSC's use of the methodology requires reversal. On the other hand, Burnt Store Lakes Property Owners......
  • Sugarmill Woods Civic Ass'n, Inc. v. Southern States Utilities, Nos. 95-425
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 4 Febrero 1997
    ...to set rates effective in both jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional counties. See Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, 656 So.2d 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied mem., 663 So.2d 631 (Fla.1995); Board of County Commissioners of St. Johns County v. Beard, 601 So.2d 590 (Fla. 1st DCA......
  • Hernando County v. Florida Public Service Com'n, No. 95-2935
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 12 Diciembre 1996
    ...concluded that service means the physical delivery of water and/or wastewater. See also Citrus County v. Southern States Utilities, 656 So.2d 1307, 1310 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied mem., 663 So.2d 631 (Fla.1995)(to satisfy the prerequisites of section 367.171(7), the PSC must find that "t......
  • SUGARMILL WOODS CIVIC ASSOCIATION, INC. v. Florida Water Services …, No. 1D98-727.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 24 Mayo 2001
    ...Services Corporation under a uniform rate structure which had been reversed by this court in Citrus County v. Southern States Utils., 656 So.2d 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995)(Citrus 785 So.2d 722 County). We agree with the Commission's conclusion that, under the highly unusual circumstances of th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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