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FPL rate hike hearing to go on, regulators decide

by Dara Kam | September 14th, 2009

Florida Power & Light’s proposed $1.3 billion rate hike hearing will resume Wednesday as planned despite a powerful GOP senator’s request that that case and another be put on hold.

But Sen. Mike Fasano’s letter asking for the delay went into the case files, Public Service Commission general counsel Booter Imhof responded in a letter sent to Fasano today.

“It’s laughable. It’s laughable. You would think it would be a joke or a hoax if this wasn’t so serious,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said of Imhof’s response.

Fasano’s district is almost exclusively served by Progress Energy Florida, which is seeking a $500 million base rate increase.

“I think that’s a sad response when you hear about the coziness they have with the utility companies but they can’t respond in a better way to a sitting senator who has concerns about his citizens and the rate increase,” Fasano said.

Imhof is the latest PSC employee to jump ship. He resigned on Friday and is going to work for the Florida House. The PSC’s lobbyist Ryder Rudd resigned last week after an internal investigation could not prove he violated state laws or rules by attending a Kentucky Derby party at the Palm Beach Gardens home of FPL executive Ed Tancer.

Since then, the commission has fended off conflict-of-interest concerns concerning communications, conferences and dinners.

Commissioner Nancy Argenziano fired her aide for giving his secret Blackberry PIN number to FPL attorney Natalie Smith and two other commissioners suspended theirs with pay for the same reason. PINs allow Blackberry users to send messages that don’t leave a paper trail.

PSC Chairman Matthew Carter last week banned the use of PINs or other communication methods that don’t create a public record.

Fasano had asked Carter to indefinitely postpone both cases until the allegations of coziness between regulators and the utilities they oversee are resolved.

Fasano said he plans to file legislation next year that will allow voters to decide whether they want the PSC, a five-member panel now appointed by the governor, to revert to an elected panel as it once was.

Gov. Charlie Crist has to make two appointments before Jan. 1 when two commissioners’ terms expire. Carter and Commissioner Katrina McMurrian are included in a list of six names given to Crist earlier this month.

Crist today said that the appointments or reappointments could hinge on the rate case votes.

Also today, an intervenor in the FPL rate case asked that McMurrian withdraw from the case because she was a panelist at a conference dealing with issues involved in the rate hearings and was a guest at a dinner that an FPL executive also attended.

McMurrian last week proposed that all future communications between the panel and their staff and utility representatives be in writing and posted on the agency’s web site.

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6 Responses to “FPL rate hike hearing to go on, regulators decide”

  1. James Says:

    Read our LIPS “NO”NO NO NO NO NO
    No More increases! take it out on the investors not the People which most don’t even live in Fla.
    Corp America’s is killing us all! It’s Time FPL takes a loss not a gain!
    Definition of F.P.L. F**king the People and Loving it. No More hikes.
    If this is allowed than the State of Fla is doomed. There should be another power company as well. F.P.L. has the Monopoly already and we the people of Fla feel it.
    If this goes threw,then the P.S.C. should be abolished cause there in Bed with FPL’s company. NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!

  2. Joe Says:

    Ask the people of California how deregulation went for them!

  3. whasup Says:

    FPL (Florida Plunder & Loot) is a prime example of what makes utility companies the great big ogre the people feel they usually are.

    It is not what they say they need to finance future power generation that is the problem. It’s the way they operate, all sleazy like, the way lounge lizards slither up to the loose, drunk women.

    As for financing future power plants with higher customer rates now, that is just insane. Even if they want to use these higher revenues to support bonds to pay for the plants, it is stupid right now.

    I realize the financial markets are not exactly flush with money to lend. But with the instability in the economy for the reasonable future, there should be plenty of capital that would like to fund long-term winners like new plants for power companies.

  4. No Increase for them Says:

    Come on they deserve the increase…I’ll bet they paid a lot of good money for it!

  5. FPL rate hike hearing won’t finish up today | Post on Politics Says:

    [...] already-into-overtime Florida Power & Light Co. $1.3 billion proposed rate hike hearing won’t finish up today as previously [...]

  6. edward buchas Says:

    Why can’t FPL absorb it’s advertising expenses like every other business in the US, then write it off at tax time. It’s the price of doing business, unless, since they are practically a monopoly, they like to “have their cake and eat it too!”

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