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05/13/2011 Contact: 850-413-6482

PSC Commissioner Brisé Speaks at 2011 Town Hall Forum on Disaster Preparedness

TALLAHASSEE — “When a disaster strikes, it’s too late to prepare.  The best time for Floridians to prepare is now, before storm season,” said Commissioner Ronald A. Brisé, Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), who spoke at last night’s Town Hall Forum on Disaster Preparedness in North Miami.  “Planning for the loss of basic services such as water, gas, electricity, and phone is important for every family.”

Focusing on the PSC’s regulated utilities and disaster preparedness, Commissioner Brisé explained how utilities restore power during an outage and how consumers can obtain hurricane preparedness information from utilities to plan for what they will do in an emergency—at home, at work, at school, or while traveling.  He also outlined the PSC’s storm hardening rules that include 10 initiatives to help utilities cost-effectively prepare for severe weather.

Commissioner Brisé said while many Floridians have experienced how it feels to be phoneless after a hurricane, some Floridians are phoneless year-round.  He discussed the Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up Florida programs--discounted phone service--and explained how the PSC assists eligible consumers to enroll in the program that could save them $162 per year.

Under the federal Lifeline program, telephone customers participating in certain public assistance programs can receive a basic telephone service discount of at least $13.50 per month.  Link-Up Florida provides a 50 percent reduction in the telephone service installation charge, up to a maximum of $30, for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service.

Other groups represented at the Forum included, the National Weather Service Miami, Siegel TLC Animal Clinic, Miami-Dade Department of Emergency Management, and Tanenbaum Harber Insurance.

The PSC facilitates safe and reliable utility services at fair prices for Florida's consumers.  Primary responsibilities include setting fair rates, encouraging competition, and monitoring for safety and reliability.

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