Florida Utility Deposit Bond: A Comprehensive Guide

January 24, 2023

Florida Utility Deposit Bond

This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Florida Utility Deposit bond.

At a Glance:

  • Average Cost: Between 2% to 15% of the bond amount per year based on the applicant’s credit
  • Bond Amount: Determined on a case-by-case basis
  • Who Needs it: Certain businesses seeking to activate utility services in Florida
  • Purpose: To ensure utility companies receive compensation for financial harm if the consumer fails to pay their utility bills
  • Who Requires Utility Deposit Bonds in Florida: Utility companies in Florida that provide services to the general public

Background

Utility companies in Florida often require customers expected to generate large monthly bills to pay a security deposit before initiating service. The security deposit protects utility companies from losses if the consumer fails to pay their monthly bills on time and in full. However, most utility companies in Florida allow customers to purchase and maintain a surety bond in lieu of a cash deposit. Unlike most surety bonds, utility deposit bonds are not required by a government agency but by the utility company providing the service (unless a municipality owns the utility company).

What is the Purpose of the Florida Utility Deposit Bond?

Utility companies in Florida require consumers that do not wish to pay a security deposit to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining utility services. The bond ensures that the utility company will receive compensation for financial harm if the consumer fails to comply with the provisions laid out in the bond form. Specifically, the bond protects the utility company if the consumer does not pay their monthly bills. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects utility companies if the consumer fails to remit all required payments.

Florida Utility Deposit Bond Form
Florida Utility Deposit Bond Form

How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Florida Utility Deposit Surety Bond?

BondExchange makes obtaining a Florida Utility Deposit bond easy. Simply login to your account and use our keyword search to find the “utility” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone (800) 438-1162, email or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.

At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.

Not an agent? Then let us pair you with one!

BX Agent Finder Link

Click the above image to find a BX Agent near you

Is a Credit Check Required for the Florida Utility Deposit Bond?

Surety companies will run a credit check on the applicant to determine eligibility and pricing for the Florida Utility Deposit bond. Applicants with excellent credit and work experience can expect to receive the best rates. Applicants with poor credit may be declined by some surety companies or pay higher rates. The credit check is a “soft hit”, meaning that the credit check will not affect the applicant’s credit.

How Much Does the Florida Utility Deposit Bond Cost?

Most Florida Utility Deposit bonds will cost anywhere between 2% to 15% of the bond amount per year. Insurance companies determine the rate based on a number of factors, including your customer’s credit score and experience. The chart below offers a quick reference for the approximate cost of a $10,000 bond requirement.

$10,000 Utility Deposit Bond Cost

Credit Score* Bond Cost (1 year)
800+ $200
680 – 799 $300
650 – 679 $500
600 – 649 $750
550 – 599 $1,500

The cost for Florida Utility Deposit bonds required by Duke Energy Florida, the Florida Power and Light Company, and the Orlando Utilities Commission are priced differently and can cost anywhere between 2% to 7.5% of the bond amount per year. Below is the approximate cost of a $10,000 bond requirement for the aforementioned companies.

Credit Score* Bond Cost (1 year)
800+ $200
650 – 799 $500
600 – 649 $750

*The credit score ranges do not include other factors that may result in a change to the annual premium offered to your customers, including but not limited to, years of experience and underlying credit factors contained within the business owner’s credit report.

Which Companies Allow Utility Deposit Bonds in Florida?

The following Florida utility companies allow customers to purchase a surety bond in lieu of depositing cash:

Aqua Utilities Florida Inc.

Businesses may be required to deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. When determining the required bond amount, Aqua Utilities will consider the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact Aqua Utilities Florida Inc. here.

City of Altamonte Springs

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the city. When determining the required bond amount, the city will consider the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact the City of Altamonte Springs here.

City of Bartow

High-use customers must either purchase a surety bond or deposit cash. The city will consider the customer’s estimated usage when determining the required bond amount.

Agents can contact the City of Bartow here.

Beaches Energy Services

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to the customer’s estimated (as determined by the company) two-month average utility bill.

Agents can contact Beaches Energy Services here.

Central Florida Gas

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the company. When determining the required bond amount, Central Florida Gas will consider the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact Central Florida Gas here.

City of St. Augustine

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the location’s previous average monthly bill. If the location is a new construction, the bond amount will equal twice the location’s estimated monthly bill (as determined by the city).

Agents can contact the City of St. Augustine here.

Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Prior to receiving service, businesses are required to submit a security deposit in an amount equal to the location’s estimated average two-month bill. Customers whose required deposit amounts exceed $2,500 may opt to purchase a surety bond instead of depositing cash.

Agents can contact Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc. here.

City of Clearwater

Non-residential accounts must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the location’s average monthly bill. The city will estimate the average monthly bill for newly constructed locations.

Agents can contact the City of Clearwater here.

Duke Energy Florida

Businesses are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. The bond amount is determined by the company on a case-by-case basis based on the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact Duke Energy Florida here.

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before receiving commercial water and wastewater services. The required bond amount is determined by the authority and is based on the size of the customer’s water meter.

Agents can contact the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority here.

Florida City Gas

Businesses are required to deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the company. The company determines the required bond amount on a case-by-case basis based on factors such as the customer’s business type and estimated usage.

Agents can contact Florida City Gas here.

Florida Power and Light Company

Businesses are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to two months of the location’s average billing. If the location is newly constructed, the company will estimate its average usage.

Agents can contact Florida Power and Light Company here.

Florida Public Utilities Company

High-use customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond prior to initiating service. When determining the required bond amount, the company will consider the location’s estimated utility usage.

Agents can contact Florida Public Utilities Company here.

Fort Meyers Utilities

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to two and half times their estimated (as determined by the city) monthly bill.

Agents can contact Fort Meyers Utilities here.

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. When determining the required bond amount, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority will consider the business’s estimated utility usage.

Agents can contact the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority here.

Gainesville Regional Utilities

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the customer’s estimated monthly utility bill (as determined by the company).

Agents can contact Gainesville Regional Utilities here.

Town of Havana

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the business’s estimated (as determined by the company) average monthly utility bill.

Agents can contact the Town of Havana here.

Hillsborough County Utilities

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the current system-wide average monthly billing for comparable accounts. Customers that are frequently late paying their bills may have their required bond amount increased to three times their average monthly bill.

Agents can contact Hillsborough County Utilities here.

JEA

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the location’s average monthly bill. If the location is newly constructed, JEA will estimate the required bond amount based on factors such as the business’s size of service, hours of operation, and/or the proposed equipment to be used with no monetary cap.

Agents can contact JEA here.

City of Key West

High-use customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. When determining the required bond amount, the city will consider the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact the Key West Utilities Department here.

Kissimmee Utility Authority

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the location’s average monthly bill, provided the previous business was similar in nature. If the location is newly constructed or its previous usage is irrelevant, the Kissimmee Utility Authority will determine the required bond amount based on the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact the Kissimmee Utility Authority here.

Lake Worth Utilities Authority

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. Lake Worth will determine the required bond amount on a case-by-case basis based on factors such as the business’s type and location.

Agents can contact Lake Worth Utilities Authority here.

Lakeland Electric

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. Once the customer creates their account, a customer service representative will provide them with their required deposit amount.

Agents can contact Lakeland Electric here.

Lee County Utilities

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating water and/or sewer service. The required bond amount is determined based on the business’s meter size:

Meter Size Water Deposit Sewer Deposit
5/8″ $60 $95
3/4″ $90 $142.50
1″ $150 $237.50
1.5″ $300 $475
2″ $480 $760
3″ $690 $1,520
4″ $1,500 $2,375
6″ $3,000 $4,750
8″ $4,800 $7,600
10″ $8,700 $13,775

Agents can contact Lee County Utilities here.

Leesburg Utilities

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating service. A customer service representative will provide the customer with their required bond amount after service is requested.

Agents can contact the City of Leesburg here.

New Smyrna Beach Utilities

Businesses whose security deposit amounts are at least $1,000 may opt to purchase a surety bond instead of depositing cash. The required bond amount for electrical service must equal twice the business’s estimated average monthly bill. The bond amount for businesses starting water service is based on the size of their meter (see here to calculate your customer’s required amount).

Agents can contact New Smyrna Beach Utilities here.

City of Ocala

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice their estimated (as determined by the city) monthly bill.

Agents can contact the City of Ocala here.

Okaloosa County

High-use customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the county. When determining the required bond amount, the county will consider the business’s estimated monthly usage.

Agents can contact Okaloosa County here.

Orange County Utilities

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the county. When determining the required bond amount, the county’s development department will consider the business’s estimated monthly usage.

Agents can contact Orange County Utilities here.

Orlando Utilities Commission

High-use customers may be required to deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the commission. Customers with one or more late payments during their first six months of service or any forced collection attempts will have their deposit amount increased to twice their average monthly bill.

Agents can contact the Orlando Utilities Commission here.

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department

High-use customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond before initiating water service. The required bond amount is determined based on their meter size, and a table outlining these amounts can be found here (page 5).

Agents can contact the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department here.

Peace River Electric Cooperative

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice the location’s average monthly bill during the previous 12-month period. If the location is a new construction, the bond must be equal to twice the business’s estimated (as determined by the company) monthly bill.

Agents can contact Peace River Electric Cooperative here.

City of Pensacola

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond prior to initiating gas and/or garbage services. The city will determine the required bond amount on a case-by-case basis based on the business’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact the City of Pensacola here.

City of Pinellas Park

High-use commercial customers must either purchase a surety bond or deposit cash before initiating service. The city determines the required bond amount on a case-by-case basis based on factors such as the business’s size, type, and estimated monthly bill.

Agents can contact the City of Pinellas Park here.

City of St. Petersburg

Multi-family residential and commercial customers may opt to purchase a surety bond instead of depositing cash. The city determines the required bond amounts on a case-by-case basis depending on the customer’s location and estimated usage.

Agents can contact the City of St. Petersburg here.

Summer Electric Cooperative Inc. (SECO)

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount twice the location’s average monthly bill. For locations that are newly constructed or have no usage history, the bond amount must be equal to 20 cents per square foot.

Agents can contact SECO here.

Tallahassee Utilities

Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the city. When determining the required bond amount, the city will consider the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact Tallahassee Utilities here.

Tampa Electric Company (TECO)

Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the company. When determining the required amount, TECO will consider the business’s type and estimated square footage.

Agents can contact TECO here.

TECO Peoples Gas System Inc

Businesses are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice their estimated (as determined by the company) monthly usage.

Agents can contact TECO Peoples Gas System Inc here.

Temple Terrace Utilities

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice their estimated (as determined by the city) monthly combined water, sanitary sewer, and solid waste bill.

Agents can contact Temple Terrace Utilities here.

Vero Beach Utilities

High-use customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the city. When determining the required bond amount, the city will consider the customer’s estimated usage.

Agents can contact Vero Beach Utilities here.

Winter Park Utilities

High-use customers may opt to purchase a surety bond instead of depositing cash. The city of Winter Park determines the required bond amount on a case-by-case basis.

Agents can contact Winter Park Utilities here.

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative Inc

Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to two months of estimated billing (as determined by the cooperative) or a load sheet provided by a licensed electrician.

Agents can contact Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative Inc here.

How Do Florida Utility Customers File Their Bonds?

Utility customers in Florida should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the company requiring the bond. The surety bond requires signatures from both the surety company that issues the bond and from the customer. In some instances, the bond will require witness signatures as well. Generally, the surety company will include the following information on the bond form:

  • Name and address of entity/individual(s) buying the bond
  • Surety company’s name and address
  • Entity requiring the bond
  • Bond amount
  • Date the bond is signed
  • Date the bond goes into effect

What Can Utility Customers in Florida Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?

To avoid claims on their bonds, utility customers in Florida must ensure they pay their utility bills on time and in full.

What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Utility Customers in Florida?

Utility companies generally only require businesses to be bonded. As such, agents can offer their customers general business and liability insurance in addition to the utility deposit bond. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue liability insurance, but our agents often utilize brokers for this specific line of business. A list of brokers in this space can be found here.

Should Your Customer Purchase a Surety Bond or Deposit Cash?

Surety bonds are generally considered the better option for businesses, as they free up working capital that would otherwise have to be deposited with the utility company. For more information on whether your customer should purchase a bond or deposit cash, contact BondExchange.