Missing McMurrian mystery solvedby Dara Kam | September 16th, 2009
Public Service Commissioner Katrina McMurrian’s absence at the onset of this morning’s Florida Power & Light Co. rate hearing wasn’t a mystery after all.
McMurrian said she was about an hour late to the meeting because her response to a motion asking her to be removed from the panel for the rate increase vote wasn’t yet ready.
McMurrian, who refused to recuse herself, didn’t want to attend the meeting until her formal response had been filed, she said.
An intervenor in the case in which the Juno Beach-based utility is seeking a $1.3 billion rate hike wanted McMurrian off the case because her interactions with FPL executives at a New York meeting raised questions about her ability to be impartial.
When the meeting broke for lunch, McMurrian said she didn’t disqualify herself for attending a conference because she has a job to do and didn’t do anything wrong. She said she didn’t discuss the particulars of the case with the FPL executives or anyone else.
McMurrian apologized to the panel yesterday for the “cloud of suspicion” raised by her attendance at the meeting.
PSC Chairman Matthew Carter said that McMurrian’s presence on the panel should not give the public any reason to worry about the impartiality of the ultimate decision on the rate hike.
“FPL has to prove its case. If they don’t prove their case, they don’t get the rate hike,” Carter said.
McMurrian, appointed to the panel in 2006 by Gov. Jeb Bush, is up for reappointment by Gov. Charlie Crist. Her term ends on Jan. 1, 2010.