Utility regulators to consider plan to restore public trustby Dara Kam | September 14th, 2009
The Public Service Commission tomorrow will discuss a proposal to require all communications between the regulatory panel and the utilities it oversees in writing.
The discussion comes amid a firestorm of criticism about commissioners’ aides swapping secret Blackberry codes with a Florida Power & Light Co. attorney that would allow them to communicate without creating a public record, even during hearings.
Commissioner Nancy Argenziano fired her aide for giving his Blackberry personal identification number – PIN – to FPL lawyer Natalie Smith and two other commissioners, including Chairman Matthew Carter, suspended theirs with pay for doing the same thing.Commissioner Katrina McMurrian, who is not involved in the secret message melee, late Friday issued a proposal “to restore the public trust” as controversies involving the agency continue to make daily headlines.
Discussion of her proposal was added late this evening to the panel’s internal affairs agenda slated for tomorrow.
McMurrian is the target of a different conflict-of-interest criticism. An intervenor in FPL’s proposed $1.3 billion base rate hike case asked that she be disqualified from voting because she had hobnobbed with FPL executives during a conference in New York earlier this year.