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Florida Weighs in on Customer Preference

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 1996

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the state Public Service Commission (PSC) failed to properly factor in "customer preference" when resolving a territorial dispute between two electric utilities, Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative and Gulf Power Co. The PSC had ruled that Gulf Power should serve a new correctional facility that the state was planning to locate in West Florida, even though Gulf Coast had participated in the site-selection process and was favored by county and state authorities. The court found no support for the PSC's findings that Gulf Coast had uneconomically duplicated Gulf Power facilities in a "race to serve" the prison. The court said that customer preference becomes a significant factor in a case where other considerations (em such as the cost of necessary upgrades and the presence of existing facilities (em prove substantially equal. Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Clark, No. 85,464, May 23, 1996 (Fla.).

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