GTE Florida Inc. v. Clark, No. 85776

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtOVERTON; O'Connell; GRIMES
Citation668 So.2d 971
Parties21 Fla. L. Weekly S101 GTE FLORIDA INCORPORATED, Appellant, v. Susan F. CLARK, etc., et al., Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 85776
Decision Date29 February 1996

Page 971

668 So.2d 971
21 Fla. L. Weekly S101
GTE FLORIDA INCORPORATED, Appellant,
v.
Susan F. CLARK, etc., et al., Appellees.
No. 85776.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Feb. 29, 1996.

An Appeal from the Public Service Commission.

Alan C. Sundberg and Sylvia H. Walbolt of Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith & Cutler, P.A., Tallahassee; and Marceil Morrell and Kimberly Caswell of GTE Florida Incorporated, Tampa, for Appellant.

Page 972

Robert D. Vandiver, General Counsel and David E. Smith, Director of Appeals, Florida Public Service Commission, Tallahassee; and Jack Shreve, Public Counsel and Charles J. Beck, Deputy Public Counsel, on behalf of the Citizens of the State of Florida, Tallahassee, for Appellees.

OVERTON, Justice.

GTE Florida Incorporated (GTE) appeals a Public Service Commission (PSC) order that implements a remand from this Court. In that remand, we affirmed in part and reversed in part a prior PSC order disposing of a requested rate increase by GTE. The PSC, in its initial proceeding, denied GTE's proposed rate increase and, instead, ordered that GTE revenues be reduced by $13,641,000. We reversed the PSC order insofar as it denied GTE recovery of certain costs simply because those expenditures involved purchases from GTE's affiliates. We found that those costs were clearly recoverable and that it was an abuse of discretion for the PSC to deny recovery. GTE Florida Inc. v. Deason, 642 So.2d 545 (Fla.1994). Accordingly, we issued our mandate on July 7, 1994, and remanded for further action. The PSC, in implementing our decision, entered an order that only allowed recovery of the disputed expenses on a prospective basis from May 3, 1995. This effective date was over nine months after our mandate issued. As noted, our decision was final on July 7, 1994, and the initial erroneous order was entered by the PSC on May 27, 1993. The issue in this cause is whether GTE should be able to recover its expenses, erroneously denied in the first instance, for the period between May 27, 1993, and May 3, 1995. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 3(b)(2), Fla. Const.

We reverse the PSC's order implementing our remand. We mandate that GTE be allowed to recover its erroneously disallowed expenses through the use of a surcharge. However, no customer should be subjected to a surcharge unless that customer received GTE services during the disputed period of time.

In our decision reversing the PSC's original order insofar as it denied GTE recovery of certain expenses, we stated:

We do find, however, that the PSC abused its discretion in its decision to reduce in whole or in part certain costs arising from transactions between GTE and its affiliates, GTE Data Services and GTE Supply. The evidence indicates that GTE's costs were no greater than they would have been had GTE purchased the services and supplies elsewhere. The mere fact that a utility is doing business with an affiliate does not mean that unfair or excess profits are being generated, without more. Charles F. Phillips, Jr., The Regulation of Public...

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2 practice notes
  • SUGARMILL WOODS CIVIC ASSOCIATION, INC. v. Florida Water Services …, No. 1D98-727.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 24, 2001
    ...Clark While the rate case was on remand from Citrus County, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion in GTE Florida, Inc. v. Clark, 668 So.2d 971 (Fla.1996), holding that equity required a utility and its customers to be treated similarly in ratemaking proceedings. Id. at 972. Clark inv......
  • Southern States Utilties, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Com'n, Nos. 96-3334
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 17, 1997
    ...stand-alone rates for Page 557 SSU's systems. 1 Because the PSC erred, however, in its consideration of GTE Florida Inc. v. Clark, 668 So.2d 971 (Fla.1996), with regard to the issue of whether SSU may surcharge the customers who underpaid under the erroneously approved uniform rates, we rev......
2 cases
  • SUGARMILL WOODS CIVIC ASSOCIATION, INC. v. Florida Water Services …, No. 1D98-727.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 24, 2001
    ...Clark While the rate case was on remand from Citrus County, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion in GTE Florida, Inc. v. Clark, 668 So.2d 971 (Fla.1996), holding that equity required a utility and its customers to be treated similarly in ratemaking proceedings. Id. at 972. Clark inv......
  • Southern States Utilties, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Com'n, Nos. 96-3334
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 17, 1997
    ...stand-alone rates for Page 557 SSU's systems. 1 Because the PSC erred, however, in its consideration of GTE Florida Inc. v. Clark, 668 So.2d 971 (Fla.1996), with regard to the issue of whether SSU may surcharge the customers who underpaid under the erroneously approved uniform rates, we rev......

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