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Crist to tap utility regulators before FPL rate hike vote

by Dara Kam | September 29th, 2009

Gov. Charlie Crist must appoint – or reappoint – two utility regulators to the Public Service Commission before the panel votes on a pending $1.3 billion Florida Power & Light Co. rate hike.

Crist said this morning he has been paying close attention to the scandal-plagued panel and will move forward with his picks, due to the Senate by the end of the week.

PSC Chairman Matthew Carter pushed back the FPL vote to Jan. 11 – ten days after his term and the term of Commissioner Katrina McMurrian ends.

“Intriguing, wasn’t it?” Crist said when asked about Carter’s decision, adding that it won’t impact the appointment process. “We still have the opportunity to make these selections. I still get to make the choice on behalf of the people of Florida.”

State law requires that Crist submit his picks to a Senate committee by Oct. 3.

If he appoints new members, they would have less than two weeks to get up to speed on the FPL base rate increase, the first proposed in more than two decades, that the regulatory panel has been considering for more than eight months.

“How’s it going to work? I don’t know if they’re going to be new, number one. But if they do happen to be new they’ll have to study up,” Crist said.

Crist said that he wants the panel, which has a history of utility-friendly decisions, to be more “people-friendly.”

“I want people that understand that a balance needs to be struck and are compassionate instead to the challenges that people face as it relates to the current economy,” Crist said.

Asked whether the five members on the panel, two of whom he appointed two years ago, fit that description, Crist said: “I hope they do. I think some do. You never know from day to day.”

The governor is looking for “people of good intellect, great integrity, care and concern and compassion for the people that are in tune with the economic challenges people face right now” and support diversifying the state’s energy sources.

Crist met with PSC candidate Benjamin “Steve” Stevens yesterday, one of the six finalists picked by a nominating council comprised of lawmakers and others.

Stevens is the chief financial officer at the Escambia County Sheriff’s office.

The governor also added a last-minute meeting late this afternoon with candidate David Klement, director of the University of South Florida Institute for Public Policy & Leadership. A former journalist, Klement spent more than three decades working at the Bradenton Herald, mostly as an editorial page editor.

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5 Responses to “Crist to tap utility regulators before FPL rate hike vote”

  1. peggy arvanitas Says:

    The settlement agreement that FP&L is referring to? It was signed by Atty General Charlie Crist in 2005.
    OPC Chief Harold McLean,and AARP Mike Twomey. If Crist is worried about consumer friendly decisions, is he going back in the “time warp” on his Atty General consent decrees?

    In essence, FP&L was given this power, as Crist was running for Governor, and the devil’s in the details no one read.

    So now, Chair PSC Carter is postponing the “show” for the rate increase til next year, and new commissioners cant be on the docket? HA! Crist has to approve Katrina, or Argenziano that bit the hand that approved her (Crist) gets her to finish smearing him as he runs for US Senator.

    Priceless!

  2. Roger Says:

    This sounds strangely familiar to all the interviews Crist gave to potential Martinez replacements only to appoint his trusty sidekick? I’m sure we can expect another waste of time here.

  3. CCGL Says:

    Hey kids, study the bare minimum so you can make a superficial, purely political, often irresponsible judgment call on something. This tip brought to you by Charlie Crist’s Guide to Life.

  4. Tom Mix Says:

    It (at least) appeared that, still powerful, Jeb Bush recently showed a bit of favoritism for Marco Rubio over Charley Christ.

    Jeb Bush remains a riveting force with both Parties in Florida politics. This seeming ‘King-like’ persona comes about of a personal nature quite basic to Jeb Bush’s character.

    He is very sincerely a Man of the People – it radiates to anyone whom he engages in personal conversations. This was not a jewel in the character for the Senior George Bush, but occasional glimpses of this grace did manage to slip through the bent claws of Syndicate-Media stories on his older brother G.W. Bush.

    Jeb Bush’s favoritism – ‘conscious’ or unconscious’ – for one over the other of the two candidates reveals to me that Jeb Bush knows something of the deeper characters within these two men. Is Jeb’s question thought to be? Which one will make the ‘better Party politician’? I personally expect that Jeb Bush asked himself – which of these two politicians would I want representing ‘me’, my family, my State, or my Nation.

    Personally, I do not know of anything outstanding about former State House Speaker Marco Rubio. (That can be Good or bad ;-) – The Florida County that my family has called home for now forty years does have an outstanding issue with Governor Christ!

    Glades County lies at the center of south Florida. One hour from the Palm Beach east coast and one hour from Ft. Myers on the west coast. “Who could decry living in the middle of a regional economy like this”!

    Shocking – but true. Glades county has fallen to one of the poorest (3) countywide economies, (among Florida’s (67) counties), for (40) uninterrupted years. The counties decline suffered a landmark economic collapse in nineteen seventy-eight and has never recovered in spite of exhaustive local efforts to revitalize it.

    In two thousand six, for the first time in over a generation, a ray of economic hope lit Glades County. Energy giant Florida Power and Light, FPL site selection group picked Glades County as a logistically prime located for a south Florida ‘Regional’ electric energy production facility, (which had been seriously called for, for over a decade).

    Local landowner Lykes Bros. Corp. in negotiation with FPL quickly agreed on an optimal 5,000 acre site; our costal neighboring counties were pleased because they did not want this power plant in “their backyard” – the Florida Public Service Commission had given their tacit nod of approval to FPL plans – all seemed ‘good to go’ awaiting only the (new) governors signature of approval – and there the ax of death fell.

    Governor Charley Christ; without so much as a visit – no discussion – not even a phone call – killed this small counties hope for resurrecting its economy and gaining the chance to get-off Florida welfare roles; requiring other county taxpayers to continue subsidizing our services and needs.

    The inside accounts that followed this appalling rejection; disclosing Governor Christ’s unexplained cold, brutal affront, – if only partially true – is too spitefully noxious to repeat here. Sadly, this was a man lusting for a kingdom, that had NO cloths… and so our economic struggle continues for our rural county.

  5. Chandra Says:

    Peggy, you are a total coo coo case. You do all this research, get some of it right, most of it wrong even when you read right from the document. You make wild accusations about everyone that does not agree with you 10000%. And some of those that you accuse are rightfully accused, but many others that will not respond to you anymore, are not due your ranting accusations. Anyone that has followed your rantings for years knows you probably see the black helicopters above your home on a daily basis also. It really is a shame that your whole life seems to be only focused on these issues and you surely have some addictive compulsions, but what is so sorry is that you are off the deep end and all you do is lost because of it. I do feel sympathetic, then I read your statements and that feeling quickly goes away. Your ineffective because you can’t even identify the good people, unless you think you are the only one that is pure and noble and right, if that’s the case, then you have far more then just compulsions. Start providing evidence of your accusations or please just stick to what you do have evidence of.

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