Utility panel chairman: No one should tell us how to voteby Dara Kam | September 14th, 2009
Not even the governor should tell utility regulators whether to give the thumbs up to a proposed $1.3 billion Florida Power & Light Co. rate hike, Public Service Commission Chairman Matthew Carter said today.
“I don’t think anybody should tell us how to vote on a rate case. We have to make our decision based on the facts presented. Each case has to stand on its own merit. To do otherwise would be violating the statute,” said Carter, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006 and up for reappointment by Gov. Charlie Crist next month. “I’m not going to do that for anyone.”
Earlier today, Crist said that the commissioners’ vote would impact whether he picks them for the panel. Two commissioners – Carter and Katrina McMurrian – are among the six finalists given to Crist by a nominating council.
“Let’s see what the commissioners want to do. Then I can have a better handle on who I want to appoint or reappoint,” Crist said.
The FPL rate hearing is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.
On Friday, Sen. Mike Fasano asked that it be indefinitely delayed until investigations into possibly too-cozy relationships between the regulators and the utilities they oversee are complete.
Carter hasn’t made up his mind yet on whether to halt the hearing and said Crist’s comments won’t sway him.
“I make my own independent decision. And I’m not intimidated nor am I persuaded by anyone else. I have to stay focused on the law,” he said. “I’m not going to g o into a war of words with the governor.”