The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today granted the Office of Public Counsel’s (OPC) petition for declaratory statement, allowing OPC to conduct discovery in any PSC proposed agency action (PAA) proceeding affecting rates and cost of service.
In its May 20, 2014 petition, OPC said the statement was needed to clarify its right to conduct discovery in PAA proceedings. The PSC declared today that OPC may use all discovery forms available to attorneys in civil actions (Fla. R. Civ. Proc 1.280-1.390). Through civil procedure law, a party can obtain evidence through discovery mechanisms such as interrogatories, documents, and depositions.
Industry representatives argued that allowing OPC’s discovery might increase rate case expense impacting customers, but the PSC said that application of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure would alleviate such concerns.
Earlier this year, the Commission declined to issue the declaratory statement, finding that OPC failed to meet the threshold requirements for its issuance. The First District Court of Appeal ruled OPC had met the requirements for a declaratory statement and instructed the Commission to decide the issue on its merits.
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