FPL exec flew on corporate jet to ask panel for $1.3 billionby Dara Kam | September 17th, 2009
Pimentel spent the day being grilled about the Juno Beach-based company’s request and about its corporate jets. Commissioners and opponents of the rate hike demanded answers about why ratepayers should foot the bill for FPL executives, their wives and their guests to jetset to places like Martha’s Vineyard, Las Vegas and the Louisville during the Kentucky Derby.
After nearly 10 hours of testimony, attorney Jon Moyle, who represents the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, asked the CFO about traveling to Tallahassee on the corporate plane.
“Did you have a concern when you decided to take the corporate aircraft up to provide your testimony that that might send a bad signal or a bad message to fly on the corporate aircraft up here to provide testimony to support a $1.5 billion rate increase?” Moyle wanted to know.
Pimentel wasn’t flustered.
“I absolutely did think about that,” said Pimentel. He also considered his schedule and the uncertainty of how long he would have to stay in Tallahassee for the hearing, which ran until 9:30 p.m. last night.
“I did not know at that point whether I would be back Thursday, today…so taking my schedule and the commission’s schedule into account, I made the decision,” Pimentel answered.
Moyle’s questions were reminiscent of the outrage generated by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler executives who traveled by corporate jets to the nation’s capital to ask for $25 billion in public funds to bailout their flailing auto companies.
It’s unclear if the charges for Pimentel’s flight will be allocated to FPL customers, who would see a $11.69 base rate increase if the panel approves it.