PBC Kentucky Derby fete puts brakes on FPL rate hearingby Dara Kam | August 24th, 2009
Palm Beachers love parties and a horse race is as good an excuse as any to host one for the county’s elite.
But the Kentucky Derby party at FPL vice president Ed Tancer’s Palm Beach Gardens home in the gated San Michele community has a Public Service Comission staffer in hot water.
PSC governmental affairs director Ryder Rudd and his wife attended the fete at Tancer’s home although Rudd is involved in hearings about FPL’s proposed natural gas pipeline.
PSC Commissioner Nathan Skop interrupted an FPL rate hearing this morning asking that Rudd be removed from the case and also asking for the employee to resign.
Rudd told Skop and PSC Commissioner Nancy Argenziano about the party over the weekend and tried to reach Commissioner Katrina McMurrian, the commissioners said.
McMurrian said she did not listen to his voice message left on her cell phone.
PSC Chairman Matthew Carter said Rudd did not contact him and was taken aback by Skop’s revelations.
Tancer, 46, is a vice-president and general counsel for the utility.
FPL is asking for a $1.3 billion-a-year rate hike for its 4.5 million Florida customers. The rate hearing is scheduled to last two weeks, but Skop suggested that he may ask that the case be dismissed because of Rudd’s possible misconduct.
The rate hearing is now in recess until the commissioners figure out what to do. They may hold an emergency hearing to decide on Rudd’s fate.