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Argenziano: The people think we suck!

by Dara Kam | September 15th, 2009

Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano summed up her view of the public’s view of the regulatory panel mired in controversy while considering a proposed $1.3 billion Florida Power & Light Co. rate hike.

“The perception of people out there – they think we suck,” said Argenziano, a former state senator who is asking for a grand jury investigation into possible misconduct in the regulatory agency.

“Is that a technical term?” asked PSC Chairman Matthew Carter.

“That’s my technical term,” retorted Argenziano.

Argenziano participated by telephone in the panel’s discussion about how to handle what they called a “spaghetti bowl” of ethical questions about the regulators’ relationships with the utilities they oversee.

Commissioner Nathan Skop offered an unlikely solution: move the agency out from beneath the governor, who now appoints the five-member panel.

“A lot of these problems could be solved if the commission were in fact in the judicial branch of government. All of this nonsense would stop,” Skop said.

Skop then launched into a scathing rebuke of the transgressions that have been reported over the past few weeks.

“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for utilities to recommend commissioners to serve on committees. I also don’t believe it’s appropriate for regulated utilities to recommend commissioners for speaking engagements. And I certainly do not think that it is appropriate for utilities to engage in ex parte communications during regulatory proceedings subject to appellate review by the Florida Supreme Court,” Skop said. “Both the Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court would find this conduct completely unacceptable.”

One of the intervenors in the case yesterday filed a motion to disqualify McMurrian from voting because she was a panelist at an energy conference in New York after being recommended by a utility official. Some of the issues discussed at the conference came up during the rate case, possibly violating “ex parte communication” laws restricting communications between the regulators and the utilities about a pending rate case, Stephen Stewart charged yesterday.

The night before the New York conference, McMurrian dined at a steak dinner with other panelists, including an FPL executive.

A tearful McMurrian pleaded with her colleagues to “give me the benefit of the doubt” after Skop’s comments.

McMurrian, who has worked for the PSC for 15 years, said that state law prohibited her from speaking about the allegations so she could not defend herself.

“When I hear things about my colleagues or staff I try to give those people the benefit of the doubt,” said McMurrian, whose term ends on Jan. 1 and is up for reappointment.

“I believe that I have held myself with honor in this job. I’m very aware of the things that are going on…I care about this place. I care about all of you. And I truly want the best for it. And that’s whether I’m here or not,” she said.

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11 Responses to “Argenziano: The people think we suck!”

  1. biggearl Says:

    GO NANCY GO! Make her chair of the entire commission!

  2. Alan Says:

    I agree entirely with Nancy Argenziano.
    Most of the commissioners have forgotten the title of their panel… “The PUBLIC SERVICE Commission.”
    They should be serving the public, but are easily influenced to grant rate hikes when they have “dinner” or “attend a party” where they become chummy with the people who run those utilities.
    All I can tell you is… they don’t serve ME, or have MY best interests at heart when they vote for those rate hikes.

  3. Miike Says:

    I agree with Nancy, she does suck.

  4. Truthman Says:

    We should be getting a huge rate decrease. The PSC does suck.

  5. nativewooder Says:

    The “absolute truth” of the matter is that the PSC should have NO relationship with the utilities that they supposedly regulate! The public has been paying through the nose for any expense the utilities didn’t want to pay for. Such as building nuclear power plants. We don’t own them (the nuclear power plants) but we have to pay every dime that they cost the utilities.

  6. bernie Says:

    we are all suckers to their cruel game

  7. David Smith Says:

    The PSC should consist of independent people that do not have a vested interest in utility companies. There should be people on the commission from financial academia, business, and general public. It is also a good idea to vote out entrenched political parties from time to time so as to avoid corruption.

  8. GOVT CROOKS Says:

    Govt. Crooks run by Crooks, representing crooks and not the people……you are right NANCY!

    Thank you for speaking straight.

    It won’t make a difference unfortunately.

    Crooks, crooks. The public, us, are their suckers….the voters, the people who pay them….the people they cheat instead of working for.

  9. emberassing Says:

    Oh if you all only knew. Yes, we do think the jobs have been handled poorly, self serving decisions and weak spines have been the norm. Here’s an idea…..DO THE RIGHT THINGS

  10. » Blog Archive » News about politics and government in Florida | Post on Politics, a PalmBeachPost.com blog Says:

    [...] This morning’s Florida Power & Light Co. $1.3 billion rate hike hearing got off to a murky start despite Public Service Commission Chairman Matthew Carter’s insistence yesterday that the regulatory panel wants to conduct its business in the sunshine. [...]

  11. Sticks of Fire: a Tampa blog » Blog Archive » ‘the people think we suck’ Says:

    [...] Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano on the public’s view of the recent antics of the PSC dining and partying with executives of the very businesses they are supposed to [...]

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